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With the recent nation-wide announcement of the COVID-19 related 2-Trillion dollar stimulus bill being passed, there is a lot of financial good to come for tax payers. Though this may come as a saving grace for many, others are falling victim to malicious malware and phishing scams, quite literally fishing for people’s account and routing information to “process and verify” their account data.
Qualifying American Citizens will receive $1200 checks either in the mail or through the IRS-guided direct deposit payments. The IRS and TurboTax have also mentioned launching a web portal to enter info, to better receive your payment. That being said, the checks are said to arrive mid-April. President Trump’s Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES) is available to those who filed taxes in either 2018 or 2019, along with a few other credentials.
Gone Phishing – How to Spot a COVID-19 Scam Email
You’ll remember that you’ve given your email out to random Small to Medium Sized businesses and Restaurants to initially receive a coupon code or a sale, because they’ve all sent you their plans for combatting and responding to the COVID-19 issue. While these are all too common nowadays, Mortgage Companies and Credit Card Firms have announced some leniency or forbearance allowances with so many Americans being unemployed and unable to make ends meet. Scammers are hopping on the trend, and have been sending out similar urgent, CTA emails requesting information quickly in order to move forward.
The email sender might falsely claim that there are an outstanding number of cases in ‘your’ area, demanding that you immediately click on their attached link to monitor the growing number and keep your loved ones safe. Emails will also come in the form of Health Advice Notices, Workplace Policy Statements, and even Stimulus Check Confirmation Forms. How do you avoid and outsmart these cybercriminals, however?
- Check the sender’s address and any links sent over, without opening them to allow your info to be compromised.
- Steer clear of any online requests providing valuable informations like SSN, Account/Routing Numbers, etc.,
- Watch for spelling and grammatical errors throughout the copy
- Generic Greetings – “Good Morning Sir” or “Dear Sir”
- An Urgent CTA – Do you really need to “Act Now!”?
The only messages you should take for something are those that come your local government website or the CDC, NIH, WHO, etc., The US Government isn’t calling, emailing, or social media messaging citizens to discuss their stimulus check, however, so just remember that when a supposed government official comes knocking on your inbox doors with a financial CTA.
Believe in Snail Mail
When it comes to COVID-19, the IRS is only sending checks through mail or direct deposit, so fret not, because stimulus check emails aren’t in the write-up. As mid-April approaches, be sure to be on the look-out for Fake Checks, social media driven messages on both LinkedIn and Facebook presenting a specific CTA, Claims of a Simple Processing Fee needing paid to complete your Stimulus Check “Confirmation”, and even messages from False Titles or those pretending to be a Government Official.