Avoid Scams that Steal Your Stimulus Check

As people receive stimulus payments, Attorney General Dave Yost urges consumers to watch out for thieves and offers these tips to help you avoid scams.

Scammers are getting more creative each day. Don’t let yourself become a target – especially, where your money is concerned.

Last week, the IRS started depositing coronavirus relief stimulus checks into people’s bank accounts. As more people receive payments, Attorney General Dave Yost urges consumers to watch out for thieves and offers these tips to help you avoid scams and keep your money safe:

  • Payments are automatic. Know that you don’t have to sign up to get a payment. For most, the IRS will use information from prior tax returns to calculate payment.
  • You owe nothing. The government will not ask for any upfront payment.
  • No third-party processing. Watch out for anyone telling you they can speed up the process. Do not provide personal information or pay a processing fee to receive a payment.
  • Know the source. Don’t click links or download attachments unless you have verified the source and know it is legitimate. Doing so could infect your devices with malicious software designed to steal your personal information or lock your computer until you pay a ransom.
  • Don’t disclose personal information. The government will not call you asking for social security, credit card or bank account numbers. Also, no PayPal account is necessary to receive your stimulus payment. All payments will be through direct deposit to a bank account or paper check.
  • Odd amount = scam. If you receive a stimulus check and it is for an odd amount of money or if it states you need to verify the check online or over the phone, it’s a scam.
  • Payment, then notification. You should get a paper notice in the mail a couple weeks after your payment is sent, letting you know where it was sent and when. If you can’t locate the payment at that point, call the IRS at a legitimate phone number.

For more information, consumers should visit the IRS website.

If you suspect an unfair or deceptive sales practice, you should contact your state’s Attorney General’s Office.

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