New Scam Alert Giving Free $1,200 Stimulus Checks; Here's How to Avoid it
By Madz D.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) warned that if you received a text message promising a $1,200 stimulus check, it is a scam.
A coalition of state tax agencies and the tax industry and the IRS are warning Americans who received unsolicited messages regarding the $1,200 stimulus checks not to respond. That scam typically reads, "You have received a direct deposit of $1,200 from COVID-19 TREAS FUND. Further action is required to accept this payment into your account. Continue here to accept this payment."
The message with an accompanying link is a fake phishing URL, but it may appear to come from an authorized source like the state's agency, as per CNBC. The scam directs individuals to an imitated IRS website and will ask for their personal as well as financial information, such as bank account details.
The IRS reminds people regarding unsolicited texts
The federal agency reminds people that it does not send such kinds of unsolicited emails or text messages. The government tax agency never asks for tax payments through gift cards and will not threaten people with lawsuits or jail.
IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said in a statement that criminals are relentlessly using the COVID-19 pandemic and the stimulus payments as a cover to fool and trick taxpayers out of their identities or money. "This scam is a new twist on those we've been seeing much of this year," he added.
Rettig urges people to remain alert to any types of scams.
Meanwhile, the IRS encourages people to take screenshots if they received these kinds of text scams and email them to the agency at email@example.com. Do not forget to include the date and time you receive the message, the phone number that received the text, and the phone number from which it came.
At the beginning of November, the IRS first warned about scams, but it tweeted about it this month. The agency reminds people that it would never inform you through text or ask for confidential details such as a bank account to pay the stimulus check.
According to The Sun, the warning came as the deadline to claim the first stimulus payment on November 21.at the same time, struggling households are missing out on the second round of financial support, as it has not been included in the new $908 billion COVID-19 relief proposal.
How to avoid scams
By remembering these tips The Sun gave, you could avoid getting caught in a stimulus check scam:
- Please note that it is normal and real that something might seem too good to be true.
- On Facebook and Twitter pages, check brands are "verified" to determine if the company will have a blue tick on its profile.
- Fraudsters are notoriously bad at writing proper English. If you notice grammatical and spelling errors, consider if it is written correctly, especially if the message you receive says it is from a "friend" informing you of a freebie.
- When encouraged to click on a URL, hover over the link to see the address where it will take you to and if it looks genuine.
- To be sure and remain safe, do not click on unsolicited links in the messages, even if it seemed a trusted contact.
- When opening email attachments, be careful as fraudsters are attaching files, musically on spreadsheets or PDF formats, with dangerous malware.
- Block the sender once you receive a suspicious message, then block and report it to the company.
- If you think a scam catches you, immediately report it to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on 1-877-382-4357 or use its online fraud reporting tool.