With a new round of stimulus checks coming, there are more scams coming too. And many of the stimulus check scams target retirees and senior citizens. The Federal Trade Commission has warned Americans to be on the lookout for stimulus-related emails that supposedly are being sent by Joseph Simons, the FTC chairman who resigned on January 29, and are designed to look as if they’re coming from an official government agency. The scam says that you must pay taxes upfront to receive the stimulus money. If you do pay the fake taxes, the scammer sends you a fake follow-up letter from the IRS!
The latest round of stimulus payments began being paid out on December 30. Scammers can rig up a caller ID to make an incoming phone call look like it’s from the IRS or another government agency. During the past year, 324,000 reports relating to COVID-19 and stimulus-related scams and ripoffs have been made to the FTC as of January 18. Consumers reported losing $307 million to fraud that plays up the pandemic.
It’s important to know the facts about the stimulus checks so that you can avoid being scammed:
1. The Economic Impact Payments Being Sent By the IRS and the U.S. Treasury Department Are Not Taxable
2. You Do Not Have To Pay Money Upfront To Receive the Stimulus Cash
3. The FTC Isn’t Involved In And Stimulus Payments
The Better Business Bureau has received reports from people contacted by text message, email and phone calls about the new stimulus checks, and the IRS has issued multiple warnings — including against Twitter scams (the IRS won’t send you a direct message).
If you are the victim of stimulus check fraud, you can report it at ReportFraud.ftc.gov. For more information about the stimulus checks, visit IRS.gov/coronavirus.
An experienced Illinois elder law attorney can explain applicable laws and advise you on the best options to protect the interests of senior citizens. Contact the Estate & Probate Legal Group at 630-864-5835.