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  • Geebo 8:00 am on September 10, 2021 Permalink | Reply
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    There is no stimulus surprise 

    There is no stimulus surprise

    By Greg Collier

    It’s been months since the IRS issued their last round of economic impact payments, otherwise known as stimulus payments. At the time of this writing, there are no current plans to issue a fourth round of stimulus payments. However, that hasn’t stopped scammers from using promises of additional payments to get what they want from their victims. In fact, the IRS recently said that the number of scams they’ve received complaints about has been the highest that they’ve seen in over a decade.

    Recently, there’s been a nationwide uptick in scammers using the promise of stimulus payments to get information or more from their victims. The methods aren’t new, but the message is. Scammers are sending out texts and emails that claiming that the victim has been specially chosen by the President to receive a surprise credit. Other messages have stated that the victim has unclaimed stimulus money. Even more messages posing as the government ask victims for their banking information, claiming that the IRS needs it again to send out another stimulus payment. All the messages contain a link that the scammers hope you click on. Moe than likely, the link will take you to a phony website asking for your personal and financial information, which the scammers can then use for any number of illicit purposes.

    As always, there’s a good way to avoid this scam if you keep one thing in mind. The IRS does not communicate by text message or email, and they especially don’t do it out of the blue. If the IRS or just about any government agency needs to contact you for some reason, they will almost always do so through the postal mail. Everyone else is almost guaranteed to be a scammer.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on May 24, 2021 Permalink | Reply
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    Scammers are still using stimulus checks as bait 

    Scammers are still using stimulus checks as bait

    By Greg Collier

    Even after a year and three stimulus payments from the government, scammers are still using the promise of stimulus checks as bait in their ongoing scams. When the stimulus payments were issued, most taxpayers received their payments by direct deposit in their bank accounts. However, for various reasons, a large section of the population had great difficulty in receiving their payments. Scammers are now said to be trying to take advantage of those people in this latest scam.

    According to reports, scammers are sending out emails promising to help its recipients obtain unclaimed stimulus money. The email has a link which takes victims to a website which asks for your personal information, so they can send you information on how to apply for unclaimed stimulus checks. This could lead to a number of scams. First and foremost it could be a front for identity theft, especially if the scammers ask for financial information. This also reminds us of the unclaimed property scam where scammers could be charging money to help you obtain stimulus money that they have no intentions of delivering.

    Please keep in mind that the only people who can help you with a stimulus related issue is the IRS. The IRS will never send out unsolicited text messages or emails, and they only tend to communicate by mail. Anybody else who is promising to get you stimulus money is more than likely a con artist. If you have had issues with getting your stimulus payments, the best place to go to resolve the issue is the IRS’s Economic Impact Payments website. If you think you may have unclaimed money that’s not related to the stimulus payments, you can go to the USA.gov website.

  • Geebo 8:01 am on March 22, 2021 Permalink | Reply
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    Victim loses stimulus in bank scam 

    By Greg Collier

    Many taxpayers received their $1400 stimulus payments in the last week or so through direct deposit. Almost as soon as the economic impact payments hit people’s bank accounts, scammers have tried to weasel their way into people’s lives to steal those payments. Unfortunately, one woman from Texas found out the hard way that these scams are going on.

    The woman received a phone call that appeared to be coming from her bank. The number on her caller ID matched that of her bank’s customer service number. The caller claimed that there appeared to be fraudulent activity on the woman’s account and that they needed her help in clearing up the situation. While the report doesn’t specifically state it, it implies that the caller asked the woman for her banking information. Before she knew it, her account had been cleaned out. This included not only her stimulus payment but a paycheck as well.

    With scam phone calls being so prevalent many of us have stopped answering calls if we don’t recognize the number. How many cars can one person possibly own to have so many car warranties expire. But that’s a post for another day. What we’re getting at is, if the number is not on your list of contacts, you’re better off not answering the call even if it appears to be your bank.

    While many banks and other financial services do actually call their customers when there’s possible fraudulent activity on the account, you’re still better off letting the call go to voicemail. If the call is actually from your bank, you can call them back at the customer service number on the back of your debit or credit card or the number that’s on your bank statement. Don’t just Google a customer service number for your bank either as some scammers take out ads on Google posing as customer service departments for various well-known businesses.

    If you do answer the call, be on the lookout for telltale signs of a scam. Your bank shouldn’t ask for your account number as they should already have it. They won’t need your password to your online banking account either.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 21, 2021 Permalink | Reply
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    New email scam tries to get your stimulus money 

    New email scam tries to get your stimulus money

    With the second round of economic impacts in the process of being paid and a third round possibly on the horizon, you might think that taxpayers should now be pretty immune to stimulus scams. However, that hasn’t stopped scammers from trying to get their hands on yours. It also appears that the scams are becoming even more elaborate to try to steal from you.

    The Federal Trade Commission is warning taxpayers about emails that claim to be from their agency discussing the stimulus payments. The emails even claim to be sent directly from the outgoing chairman of the FTC. According to reports, the email demands that you pay money to receive your stimulus payment. It even includes an official looking ‘certificate of approval’.

    If you make any motions towards actually making a payment to the scammers, you’ll be told that the payment is for a State Department certificate that proves the funds are not related to any terrorist activity. That may sound made up, but the FTC is assuring us it isn’t.

    If you receive one of these emails it is recommended that you just delete it or mark it as spam.

    The indicators that this email is a scam are numerous. The first is that the FTC has nothing to do with economic impact payments. That is all handled by the IRS, and they’re not emailing anyone asking for money either. One of the other indicators is that you don’t have to pay for your stimulus payment. The majority of taxpayers just have to keep an eye on their bank account if they have direct deposit, or their mailbox if they don’t. Even if you’re a non-filer and received the initial stimulus payment, you should receive this one the same way.

    If you have any further questions about how the economic impact payments are being made, we recommend going to the IRS’s Get My Payment website.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 4, 2021 Permalink | Reply
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    New unemployment and stimulus scams emerge 

    New scams involving both unemployment and stimulus

    Two of the biggest scams that dominated the headlines in 2020 were scams involving either the stimulus payments or unemployment benefits. Early in the year, scammers were hot to get their hands on the $1200 economic impact payments issued to eligible citizens. Then later on in the year, a massive wave of scammers filed for billions of dollars in fraudulent unemployment benefits taxing already overburdened unemployment systems in each state. With 2021 just barely being underway, it seems like we’re in for more of the same for now.

    Previously in unemployment scams, the scammers would file for fraudulent benefits using stolen identities. Sometimes, they would be filed in the name of people who were still employed. This tipped off the employers that unemployment benefits were filed falsely for current employees. Employers could then notify employees who could notify the state about the fraudulent filing. More recently, the state of Illinois has discovered a new tactic being used by unemployment scammers. Somehow, the scammers are changing the employer’s address when filing for benefits, so the employer does not get a notice. This removes a key barrier to preventing fraudulent benefits from being claimed. The state says they are already taking steps to prevent this information from being altered and are notifying any potential victims.

    In Florida, scammers are looking to take advantage of not just the unemployed but those awaiting their economic impact payments as well. Phishing emails have already gone out that look like they’re from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. The legitimate looking emails are being sent to those already on unemployment and promise recipients a payment of $12,600. The email then asks you to click on a link that says ‘Accept My Claims’. A copy of the email can be viewed here. If you’ll notice, the email says that payment will be in USD. That’s kind of redundant since this supposedly from a US-based organization. Anytime USD is used in an email like this, it’s almost a guarantee that it’s an overseas scam.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on December 23, 2020 Permalink | Reply
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    Scams are sure to follow new stimulus payments 

    Scams are sure to follow new stimulus payments

    This past Monday, Congress approved a new round of economic impact payments to most US citizens. The new round of payments will only be half as much as the initial payments at $600. Even though these payments will be less, they won’t stop scammers from trying to fleece you out of your payment. While we’re sure new scams will emerge with the next round of payments, scammers will continue to use the same scams they did before. So let’s review some of those scams.

    This round of payments are supposed to be received quicker than the payments back in Spring. However, scammers might try to convince you that they can the payment to you quicker if you give them your financial information. In reality, no one person or agency can get you your payment to you faster.

    The IRS will not reach out to you by text message, phone call, social media, or email about your stimulus payment. So if anyone contacts you out of the blue and says there is an issue with your payment, they are more than likely scammers. If you think there might be an issue with your payment, you can always check with the IRS’s Get My Payment website.

    As previously mentioned, the stimulus checks will be no more than $600. If anyone is contacting you promising more money than that, they are scammers.

    Be wary if you receive a paper check that is designed to look like a stimulus payment. Scammers will follow up with a phone call stating that they’ve overpaid you and will ask you to deposit the check and return the overage. These are fake checks and if you deposit one, you’ll be responsible for the amount to your bank.

    Speaking of banks, your bank will not call you about your stimulus payment status. Once again, these are scammers trying to divert your payment to them.

    In general, it’s best not to click on any links about your stimulus that you receive in any online communication and do not give your personal information over the phone.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on November 3, 2020 Permalink | Reply
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    Stimulus check scams are back 

    Stimulus check scams are back

    Most Americans received their economic impact payments much earlier this year. This hasn’t stopped scammers from trying to trick people into using the promise of additional stimulus payments into giving up either money or personal information.

    Recently, scammers have been texting their victims with messages that state they have pending stimulus payments. The text then goes on to say that if you want to accept these payments you need to click on the attached link. While we haven’t confirmed this if previous texting scams are any indicator, the link will take you to a website that will require you to enter your personal information. Or it could potentially ask you to pay a ‘processing fee’ to receive your stimulus payment. In either case, the stimulus payment doesn’t exist. Ever since the initial economic impact payment were issued, the government has not approved any additional stimulus payments.

    Please keep in mind that the majority of federal agencies that deal with the general public do not communicate by text. That’s not even taking into account that if a government office needs to discuss stimulus payments they will refer to them by their proper name of economic impact payment. Anyone contacting you calling them a stimulus payment or stimulus check is probably not with the government. That’s not even mentioning that even if additional impact payments were to be issued you wouldn’t have to pay money to receive them.

    In addition to these warnings, it’s just good practice to avoid clicking on links in text messages from people you don’t know. This is a common practice used in several different scams that are designed to either steal your personal information or inject malware into your device. Either of which could lead to a number of expensive and inconvenient problems in the future.

  • Geebo 8:13 am on May 27, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , eip card, , stimulus checks,   

    Stimulus debit cards delivered in unmarked envelopes 

    Stimulus debit cards delivered in unmarked envelopes

    Last week, we posted about the stimulus debit cards that some taxpayers will receive instead of paper checks. To summarize, those taxpayers who didn’t provide the IRS with their banking information might receive one of these cards known as EIP cards instead of a paper check.

    Some taxpayers are already starting to receive their EIP cards, however, some have been suspicious of the cards since they’re being delivered in unmarked envelopes. These cards are, in fact, the legitimate EIP cards and can be used mostly like a normal debit card. So if you’re expecting your stimulus payment in the mail, don’t throw out any unmarked envelopes until you receive your card.

    The envelope will say it’s been sent by Money Network Cardholder Services while the card itself will have a VISA logo along with the name MetaBank which is the issuing bank.

    In other consumer financial news, the state of Colorado is warning residents about a scam that is targeting the unemployed. Scammers are posing as employees of the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment or the Colorado Division of Unemployment Insurance. They’ll contact their victims by phone or email asking for personal information such as your Social Security number, your bank account numbers, and bank account passwords. Please keep in mind that while this is being reported in Colorado, this scam could come to any state.

    If you’ve recently applied for unemployment in your state, the unemployment office may contact you, however, they will not ask for any personal information. Most offices will already have the information they need from when you initially applied for benefits.

  • Geebo 8:06 am on May 26, 2020 Permalink | Reply
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    There is no 2nd stimulus payment 

    There is no 2nd stimulus payment

    With life in the United States currently adapting to the everyday changes brought on by the global pandemic, scammers and con artists have been adapting as well. With every change, they continue to tweak and transform their scams into whatever can best serve them now while disregarding the untold victims they leave in their wake.

    By most reports, the majority of those who were eligible to receive the economic impact payments have received them. That doesn’t mean that there still aren’t those who could use additional stimulus benefits. There has been talk among lawmakers to issue additional payments, but as of the time of this posting (5/26/2020) no additional stimulus payments have been approved by the government.

    That hasn’t stopped scammers from trying to fool their victims into believing that a second stimulus payment is on its way. The reason the scammers are doing this is so they can pull the same scams they tried when the initial stimulus payment was being issued.

    A report from the Georgia Attorney General’s Office is warning residents about one such scam where the scammers are posing as IRS employees. They’re saying they can provide additional funds as long as the consumer installs a certain software on their device. The victims are then asked for a $1,000 gift card to pay for the software.

    So in this particular scam, the scammers are double-dipping their victims. Not only are the scammers trying to steal consumers’ money by asking for payment by gift card but they’re also installing software on consumers’ devices. This software can be anything from malware designed to steal your security credentials or ransomware that can lock you out of your device.

    If the IRS needed to contact you for any reason, they will contact you by postal mail. They will not contact you unwarranted by phone, text, or email.

    • Robert Jamison 2:31 pm on May 27, 2020 Permalink

      I’m on SSI and I haven’t received my stimulus check or has been direct deposited into my account and the IRS has all my info on my direct deposit but I got the nice letter from the POS Trump be nice to get the stimulus first before you get the letter

  • Geebo 8:00 am on May 21, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , stimulus checks   

    If you were expecting a paper stimulus check you may not get one 

    If you were expecting to receive your stimulus payment by paper check, you may not be receiving one. Instead, the Treasury Department has announced that they’ll be sending some four million payments on prepaid debit cards. The Treasury Department claims that it will be quicker to send out the debit cards than it would be to issue paper checks.

    The majority of people who will be receiving the debit cards are those who did not provide the IRS with direct deposit information and had their tax returns processed by the IRS centers in Austin, Texas, or Andover, Massachusetts. The Andover service center processed returns for much of New England while the Austin service center processed returns for taxpayers in Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Texas. The Austin service center also covers those who use a military mailing address like an APO or FPO.

    There are very few restrictions on the card and consumers will be able to use it like a normal debit card. There are no fees for purchases or withdrawing money as long as the money is withdrawn from an in-network ATM. If your card were to be lost or stolen it would cost around $25 to have it replaced.

    While the debit card will be more convenient for most people rather than a paper check, there are still some safeguards you should take after receiving yours. No matter how ecstatic you may be about receiving your payment, do not post a picture of the card on social media. It will take bad actors no time at all to drain your funds off of the card with just the card number. Also keep in mind that if someone claims to be from the government calling about the debit card, they’re almost assuredly a scammer.

    Lastly, for individuals with privacy concerns, the Treasury Department says that the government cannot track your spending habits from the card.

    • Andrenikki 2:47 pm on May 24, 2020 Permalink

      Wassup wit The Stimulus Check

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