Financial scams are an ongoing problem, in part due to our growing reliance on technology and digital payment systems. Our elderly are especially an easy target because many in the older generation are less tech savvy, isolated and lonely, or suffering from memory issues that impair their judgement.
Here are some FACTS regarding the Economic Impact Payment:
- U.S. citizens are eligible to receive up to $1200 per person if certain conditions are met:
- Cannot be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return
- Have a Social Security number (SSN) that is valid for employment (valid SSN
- Exception: If either spouse is a member of the U.S. Armed Forces at any time during the taxable year, then only one spouse needs to have a valid SSN
- Have adjusted gross income below an amount based on your filing status and the number of your qualifying children (source: IRS.gov)
- You will receive payments to the bank account on file where you filed your 2018 or 2019 tax returns. If you did not file taxes or did not receive a refund, your check will be mailed to you.
Fraud Warning Signs
YOU DO NOT NEED TO GO THROUGH A 3RD PARTY TO RECEIVE THIS PAYMENT
Many unscrupulous individuals, several acting as official businesses, are trying various tactics to access the funds. Look for these red flags if you receive any correspondence regarding the economic impact payment.
- Letters or emails emphasize the words “Stimulus Check” or “Stimulus Payment.” The official term is economic impact payment.
- Ask the taxpayer to sign over their economic impact payment check to them.
- Ask by phone, email, text, or social media for verification of personal and/or banking information saying that the information is needed to receive or speed up their economic impact payment. NEVER GIVE OUT YOUR BANK INFORMATION UNLESS DONE DIRECTLY ON THE SECURE IRS WEBSITE.
- Suggest that they can get a tax refund or economic impact payment faster by working on the taxpayer’s behalf. This scam could be conducted by social media or even in person.
- Mail the taxpayer a bogus check, perhaps in an odd amount, then tell the taxpayer to call a number or verify information online to cash it.
Be safe and be aware. If you are in doubt about the legitimacy of an email, phone call, letter or check that you receive, check your payment status and talk with a trusted friend or family member to make sure you are not taken advantage of.
For more information on Elder Fraud, please visit our more detailed blog about financial scams targeting seniors.