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Stimulus & COVID-19 Phishing Scams
By Stuart Hensley, Director of Operations
As we’ve seen throughout the pandemic, scammers are taking advantage of uncertainty around COVID-19 and the latest round of stimulus checks to steal personal information.
Phishing emails are on the rise. Here’s what you need to know:
1. Beware of texts or emails asking you to “click to request benefit payments.”
If you are waiting on a stimulus deposit or paper check, you do NOT need to provide anyone your personal information or fill out an application to receive stimulus money. Just as before, the IRS will automatically use the same payment method used for your tax refunds.
For more information, visit: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/economic-impact-payments
2. Watch out for emails and phone calls asking to “verify information.”
Another tactic scammers use is an email or phone call pretending to be the IRS or your bank. These phishing scams will ask you to provide personal information for verification in order to receive a stimulus payment.
3. Don’t fall for offers to receive your stimulus payment early.
Ignore any offers of early stimulus payments in exchange for a “processing fee” in the form of a prepaid gift card. These are scams.
How to help protect yourself:
- Always check the “from” or “reply-to” address in the header of an email to verify it’s correct.
- If you’re unsure whether an email is from your bank or financial institution, call them directly.
- Stay aware of current COVID-19 phishing scams by visiting: https://www.ftc.gov/coronavirus/scams-consumer-advice
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