Florida Elder Law & Estate Planning Blog

Fraudsters Trying to Cash in On CARES Stimulus Program

Here is what you need to do to get that stimulus check: nothing. But that isn’t preventing fraudsters from trying to convince you otherwise so that they can line their own pockets.

Under the coronavirus relief package, every American with a Social Security number who is not a dependent of another taxpayer will receive a payment. A single adult earning up to $75,000 will receive $1,200, plus $500 per child. The funds will come through direct deposit or via check. The amount is calculated based on the taxpayer’s previous tax filings.

Treasury Secretary Mnuchin has stated that he expects the money to be in people’s hands in about three weeks, but that remains to be seen. Chances are if the money comes via check and not direct deposit, it could take longer.

Fraudsters are already trying to capitalize on confusion over the stimulus. If anyone contacts you and says your financial or personal information is needed to receive your stimulus funds, ignore it. This is an attempt to steal your identity. Some scammers may tell you that you can receive your check sooner or get a larger amount if you pay a “processing fee” and share personal information. Under no circumstances should you divulge any information about your bank accounts, debit cards, Social Security, pay pal account, etc. You may be solicited by text, phone or email, or through social media posts or other “click bait.” Do not click on any links.

The Better Business Bureau also reports that some people have received bogus “stimulus” checks in the mail. A letter accompanies the check, inviting the recipient to come to a “temporary relief site” to claim the money. One Brooksville, Florida resident who received a mailing of this type discovered that the “relief site” was selling used cars!

To read more about what you can expect from the stimulus program, click here.