Waiting for Your Stimulus Check? Fraudsters are too.

You’re probably already aware that the government will be sending out stimulus checks as a part of the federal response to Coronavirus relief efforts. Cybercriminals have also heard the news and haven’t missed a beat in attempting to do what they do best: steal sensitive information from vulnerable individuals.

Scammers are opportunists when there is a highly publicized event such as the Coronavirus pandemic. They use fear, concern and uncertainty during this crisis to lure their victims into revealing sensitive information. These malicious actors have already found ways to take advantage of innocent individuals during this pandemic but now have a new twist: leveraging the high demand and confusion surrounding who qualifies for the check and how much money will be received.

These relief checks haven’t gone out yet, but the Federal Trade Commission has already received an abundance of complaints about fraud and other sketchy attempts relating to the check.

Consumers should be on the lookout for requests for personal or financial information, any offer to apply for the program or any grant offers related to the stimulus program. Organizations like the IRS don’t call you, text you or send you emails, so if you receive a message from someone claiming to be from the government with your relief check, don’t fall for it. Don’t give any of your personal information away via text, phone or email.

On April 6th, the IRS stated, “The distribution of economic impact payments will begin in the next three weeks and will be distributed automatically, with no action required for most people.” As long as you filed taxes for 2018 and/or 2019, the government likely has the information it needs to send you your check. The same goes for Social Security recipients. “Social Security beneficiaries who are not typically required to file tax returns will not need to file to receive a payment. Instead, payments will be automatically deposited into their bank accounts.” Here are official updates and more information regarding the coronavirus stimulus checks.

These scammers will continue using these phishing attempts during this pandemic to gain your information and use it to their advantage. It’s important to know what to look out for, especially at a dire time like this.

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