BBB gives tips on how to avoid scams about COVID-19 economic impact payments

The Better Business Bureau is giving tips on how to avoid scams about economic impact payments being paid out due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

The CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) Act was signed into law in late March and provides economic relief payments to people and small businesses. Payments will begin making their way into accounts within the next few weeks, but the BBB says scammers are taking advantage now.

RELATED: Coronavirus stimulus cash: Don’t wait for your check in the mail

The BBB says some are reporting calls from people claiming to be from the Social Security Administration and telling them there are problems with their Social Security account. The scammer says because of this, their economic impact payment will be withheld, then ask the person to confirm their Social Security number. Other scammers are reaching out via text, saying if consumers pay a certain amount, they can receive their payments within 24-48 hours.

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The BBB is providing the following tips to avoid these scams:

  • No payment or information is required. The IRS will use your 2019 tax information (2018 if you have not yet filed for 2019) to calculate and send your payments. No additional action is required on your part, including sending payments or personal information.
  • Simple tax returns are available. If you do not file a tax return, complete a simple tax return to receive the stimulus payment.
  • No government agency will call or email you. The SSA has stated they will only contact those who have requested to receive a call or already have ongoing business with them. If anyone claiming to be from government agencies, such as the IRS, SSA or U.S. Treasury Department, contacts you via text, email or phone call, do not respond.
  • Know your eligibility. Tax filers who have adjusted gross income levels of $75,000 for individuals and $150,000 for couples will receive full payment. Payment is reduced by $5 for each $100 above that threshold. Individuals with income above $99,000 or couples above $198,000 with no children are not eligible. 
  • Report scams. If a scammer contacts you, hang up or ignore the message. Report scams to the BBB, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, or the Office of the Inspector General.

Those wanting to learn more about the economic impact payments can visit the BBB's website, the IRS' coronavirus page or the Treasury Department's website.


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