By: Joyce Wassell
If you are eligible for the second round of stimulus money (Economic Impact Payments or EIP) and didn't receive it by direct deposit already, the check or prepaid debit card is on its way. This means, so is another round of scams.
If you receive a text asking you to click a link to "track your stimulus check" or "find out if you are eligible", don't! This is an attempt to get bank account or personal information.
The IRS or US Treasury Department will not call you about your stimulus payment. In fact, they will not call you at all, unless you have contacted them specifically first. Scammers know people are looking for their second stimulus check and may be distracted by everything going on right now. All of us have answered a call at a time when we are focused on something else, and could be a victim of one of these scam calls.
There are no fees associated with the stimulus payments. Again, the scammers are hoping you are desperate enough for the money to let your guard down and fall for the "just pay this fee and we will get your money to you right away".
Many of the payments in this delayed round will be in the form of paper checks. This is a golden opportunity for the scammers to send checks that are not real, although many could be fairly good copies of a real check. Some people may receive a check even though they had a direct deposit payment already. The bad guys are hoping you are so excited to get this "mistake the government made", you immediate cash it. Of course, the check will not clear and you did not get two deposits for the second round of payments. We have included a sample of the check being mailed this week for reference.
Keep your guard up when the phone rings or a text arrives. We can all become a victim of one of these scams, no matter our age, profession or education. One quick distraction is all it takes to make a mistake that can lead to identity theft, the need to close your accounts or the loss of money.