With the rise of technology aimed at making our lives easier, comes the unfortunate downfall, scams. Credit cards, online banking, shopping, whatever might be your choice when using technology, are all vulnerable to crime. With the stimulus check arrival across the United States, hackers are ramping up scams like never before. IBM released a report this week that found a 6,000 percent increase in spam emails related to COVID-19 since early March. It is important to be a savvy internet user when dealing with suspicious emails and using a level head when dealing with suspect calls. This is how to keep yourself safe from stimulus check scams.
The most important aspect to remember about the stimulus check, is that you should not be contacted about it. The IRS goes off information provided by your yearly tax returns. If you have not filed for 2019, do not despair, they will use the information from 2018. If you do need to make changes or ask questions The IRS has a comprehensive page, answering many questions people have.
There are stimulus check scams floating around that aim to trick you out of money. Here are a few that you can spot:
-The IRS paid you “too much” and they need you to send back money
-The IRS needs you to pay a fee before releasing your funds to you
-The IRS needs you to send all your banking information in
Look closely at the email, are there certain aspects that don’t seem quite right? There are some easy ways to identify scam emails:
-incorrect punctuation or odd punctuation, like including exclamation marks (!)
-Mistakenly capitalized letters. “The IRS iS contacting you about Your stimulus checK”
-Your inbox warning you about potential spam when opening the email
-A logo that looks wrong.
Fake IRS Calls:
The IRS never calls! This is any easy scam to spot because any calls that claim to be the IRS are fake. A few examples:
-A computer automated message.
-Your social security number being compromised
Use your best judgement and do not be afraid to do some research before forking over anything personal. Scammers and hackers use urgency to scare people into making snap judgements. This is an extremely emotional time for people across the country. Hackers prey on that emotion, capitalizing on people’s fear. They will push every button they can to make you act irrationally and with urgency. Remind yourself to take the extra time to thoroughly check each time you release ANY personal details. Stay vigilant against stimulus check scams.