Scammers targeting second round of stimulus checks by posing as IRS through email, texts, and social media

SCAMMERS have been again using emails, text messages, and other methods to target recipients of stimulus payments.

Americans lost $221 million this past year to COVID 19 scams and stimulus payment fraud according to the Federal Trade Commission.

Multiple outlets report that some people in the US have again been contacted via phone, post and email by fraudsters posing as the IRS, this time during the second round of payments.

Watch out for bogus texts claiming to help you track your stimilus check by clicking on a link to “access benefits.” This scam tries to lure you into giving up your private information or even downloading malware on your phone.

The better business bureau also warns about another type of stimulus check scam.

“Basically they send you a fraudulent check, the scammers do, and you think it’s real because it looks real and you actually take it to the bank and cash it and a couple of days later they’re following up with you to tell you that they have paid you more than you’re supposed to get and you have to send them this money back,” said Vee Daniel with the BBB.

Others have reportedly received fake debit cards in the mail, purporting to be from Meta Bank.

Another twist scammers are using are posts on social media to get those suspicious links in front of your eyes.

"As far as people saying they can get your check fast or they can get you more money, the amounts are prescribed by law. You get what you get if you qualify, and anything that sounds too good to be true, often is," said Ryan Marquez from the University of Houston Consumer Law Clinic.

And, finally, if anyone tries to get you to pay a fee to get your stimulus money, that’s a big red flag. You should not have to pay to get your check.

Federal authorities recommend anyone who has fallen victim to any of these scams to contact them immediately.

Anyone eligible for a second stimulus check who is still yet to receive it can check on the status of their $600 per person payment using an online tool.

The latest payments have already arrived in millions of Americans' bank accounts, but some eligible people are still waiting to receive the money.

Payment Trace is a free tool by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that can be used to track individual stimulus checks.  

If you're eligible for the stimulus check, there are still ways you can work out the status of the payment, which the IRS was given until January 15 to distribute.

Just keep in mind that the holiday weekend may have affected mail delivery, so it's possible the check has been sent out and is on its way.

However, if you don't receive your payment in the next few days, you'll typically need to claim the money on your 2020 tax returns.

To help work out your next steps, it's worth checking the IRS tool called "Get My Payment."

Who’s eligible for the stimulus check?

THERE is certain criteria that must be met in order to claim your second stimulus check.

You could be entitled to a payment if the following is true:

  • You are not a dependent of another taxpayer
  • You have a Social Security number valid for employment

Your adjusted gross income (AGI) must also not exceed:

  • $150,000 if married and filing a joint return
  • $112,500 if filing as head of household or
  • $75,000 for single applicants

For earnings above this amount, payments will shrink by $5 for every $100 earned.

It means they will be phased out completely at $87,000 for individuals and $174,000 for couples filing jointly.

Children under 17 years old will also receive the same $600 payment as adults, but "child dependents" who are 17 years old will not.

It will tell you how much your total second stimulus check should be, how it'll be paid, if there's a delay, and more.

If your check has been issued, the Get My Payment tool will also show you the date it was sent.

To use to the tool, you'll need to add your Social Security number or individual taxpayer identification number and date of birth.

You also need to provide your street address as well as the ZIP or postal code.

If you receive the message "payment status not available" once you've verified your identity, this is usually due to two common reasons.

It may be because you didn't file a 2019 tax return, or you did file and your return hasn't been processed yet.

IRS said it updates Get My Payment data once per day overnight, so there's no need to check more often than this.

In fact, it's limited each user to five logins per day to manage system capacity.

Just like the first check which went out last year, the purpose of the second payment is to help people struggling during the coronavirus crisis.

And with Covid still causing major disruption there could even be a third stimulus check coming worth as much as $1,400.

We explain seven reasons why your $600 stimulus check hasn't arrived yet.

Meanwhile, a warning has been issued as Americans are throwing away their $600 cards because the envelopes "look like junk mail."

Source: Read Full Article