Sheriff’s Corner

Many of you have already received your $600.00 stimulus payment from the federal government as part of the COVID relief program. However, there are those who are waiting on their check or debit card payment to arrive in the mail. There is also the talk of a third stimulus payment, which Congress could be enacting in the near future. 

Once again, scammers are using news of the second stimulus payment as a lure to try to steal your money and personal information. There has already been reports of people being contacted through text message, email and phone calls about the new stimulus checks and how to get them quicker. Urgent emails, text messages or phone calls that instruct you to click a link to confirm your payment or enter more information are fake, and you should never click the link or enter your bank or personal information.

When in doubt, remember that the IRS does not have the capacity to speak with people on the phone about their stimulus checks. They certainly will not take the time to call you or look up your social media accounts. Here are the most common and notorious scams that target your second stimulus check, and what to do if you think you've been swindled.

First and foremost, the IRS will never text you or send you a direct message through social media. If you receive this type of message, it is an attempt to scam you out of money or your personal or financial information. Delete or disregard this type of message. Remember, the IRS does not send unsolicited texts. Watch out for a scam that asks for bank account info in order to send you an Economic Impact Payment.

Prior to the $600 stimulus check being approved, individuals reported getting text messages encouraging them to click on a link and accept the stimulus check payment. If you have gotten a text message like this, it is a scam. The text messages may say that you have "received a direct deposit of $600.00 from COVID-19 Treasury Fund" and will include a phony link to "accept the payment."

Scammers may promise faster stimulus check delivery. If you are asked to verify or provide financial information by phone, email or text to speed up the delivery of your payment, that is also a scam. The IRS will not call or email you to verify your information. Only use the official IRS web page to submit information to the IRS.

The IRS does not call it a 'stimulus check'

If the person you're talking to via text or email uses language other than "economic impact payment," be wary. The IRS calls the “economic impact payment" by its official name, where scammers are more likely say "stimulus check" or "stimulus payment" instead.

Even if the term "economic impact payment" comes up in any communication purporting to be from the IRS, do not take their word for it, especially if any of these other tips raise red flags. Always go to the official IRS web page to find out information about your check. In most cases, you do not need to do anything to get a stimulus payment

If you are a retiree who does not normally file a tax return and someone offers to submit information for you or claims you must verify information before getting your check, something is wrong. The IRS says no action is needed on the part of retirees to receive a stimulus check if they do not normally file a tax return. Here is more to know about stimulus checks, retirees and older adults.

If you fall victim to one of these scams, it may be impossible to identify those who are responsible. Many times the scammers are outside of the United States and if you send them money through one of their deceptive tactics, your money is gone.

If you have any questions about stimulus checks or calls you may receive, please give us a call. We will try to help you any way we can.