TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) — If you’re waiting for your stimulus check, you’re not alone. Crooks want that money, too, and the ways they are tricking consumers is only getting more creative.
As millions of Americans wait for their stimulus money, scammers are on stand by.
The Federal Trade Commission has received more than 14,000 complaints about coronavirus scams.
“There’s trillions of dollars about to enter the stream of commerce and fraudsters are aware of that,” said Matt O’Neill, a supervisory special agent with the U.S. Secret Service.
With brick and mortar banks closed, many more customers will turn to online banking to access their economic impact payments. That’s why cybersecurity is more important than ever.
The Internal Revenue Service already began sending direct deposit payments this week. The payments will be sent automatically, with no action needed from most taxpayers.
The Secret Service advises setting up two-factor authentication for your bank account and your email account, which may contain sensitive personal information.
Ignore phishing messages and unsolicited requests for personal details.
“Don’t click on any links embedded in emails or text messages,” O’Neill said.
The IRS will not email, call or text you to verify your information for the economic impact payment.
Questionable links could lead to malware or viruses capable of infecting your devices.
Consumers should also avoid pay requests.
The government will never ask people to pay money to get money.
On that note, beware of purported stimulus payments that seem excessive. For reference, an individual taxpayer with a gross adjusted income below $75,000 will receive a check of $1,200.
Trae Calloway, of Garland, said she was offered $9,000 from someone who claimed to work with the U.S. Treasury.
The caller said she first needed to transfer money to a gift card before she could receive her payment.
Calloway lost more than $600 to the fraudsters.
“My heart was beating fast and I just feel like the bottom dropped out of my stomach,” said Calloway, who is unemployed. “If you have a gut feeling it might be a scam, it probably is.”
Finally, scrutinize any “stimulus payment” checks you may have already received in the mail. It might be a hoax.
The government will not mail physical checks until the last week of April, according to an Apr. 13 memo from the U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means.