|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||Contact: Gaby Ramirez, Integris|
Hackers and Scammers are Already Hard at Work Stealing Economic Impact Payment Checks
[April 10, 2020] – Integris is issuing a warning to all employees, customers, and the general public that there have been at least fifty-five reported stimulus checks scams since President Trump announced plans to move forward with the program on March 25, 2020.
On April 2, 2020, the IRS issued an alert regarding cybersecurity issues, phone calls, texts, and email phishing relating to these checks.
Warnings, Alerts, and Protections
Integris has gathered important facts relating to the distribution of the checks to keep everyone safe.
- Be wary of any communication making heavy use of the term “stimulus checks.” The government is referring to these payments as “economic impact payment.”
- The stimulus checks will be physically mailed unless the IRS has a direct deposit banking account on file. They will never call people or send a request in an email to update the banking account information. The IRS will be creating a secure web-based portal on their official site to update account information.
- The economic impact payments will be issued based on 2018 tax returns unless a 2019 tax return is on file. If a return isn’t on file for either year, the IRS will use social security information currently in their database. No action is needed from any individual.
- The average amount of money will be $1200 per individual, $2400 per couple, and $500 per child. If a check is received in any other amounts or if there is a “requirement” to call and verify information before cashing the check, it is a scam attempt.
- There is no action required from the consumer. There is no enrollment, no plan, and no additional information needed to receive the economic impact payment. Banks will not be calling customers requesting information to “help set up” direct deposits. Consumers wish to set up direct deposit must contact the financial agency to do so.
- Always visit the official IRS site before giving out information of any kind via email, text, or phone.
- Do not click on any attachments in an email reputing to concern your stimulus check.
- Report any potential scamming attempts by forwarding the email, phone numbers, or suspicious texts to [email protected], and report all suspicious texts to this address as well.
The High Price of Coronavirus
According to the Federal Trade Commission, consumers have been targeted by hackers and scammers over 12,000 times during the COVID-19 pandemic, costing them nearly $8.4 million. The average loss is $574 per individual.
Mike Fowler, CEO of Integris, cautions:
“It’s unfortunate but not unexpected that cybercriminals are attempting to scam people not only out of their stimulus checks, but out of their life savings. Fear and confusion about the program create the perfect backdrop for these scammers. Just know that the US government will never call, email, or text you to ask for bank details, social security numbers, or money. Please take the time to caution parents, loved ones, and co-workers on these dangers. Education and awareness are the best ways to thwart these criminals.”