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Cybersecurity Tips Regarding COVID-19 Economic Stimulus Payment

ASB April 03, 2020 | 5 min read N/A

We continue to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and are working hard to ensure we are doing all that we can to help.

On March 30, 2020, the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced that it will begin assisting individuals impacted by COVID-19 through economic impact payments. The distribution of these payments will begin within the next three weeks and will be distributed automatically, with no action required for most people.

Click here to learn about who is eligible for the payment.

According to the Treasury Department, most of the eligible Americans will have the funds sent as a direct deposit into their bank accounts for those that chose direct deposit when filing their tax returns. The unbanked, elderly and other groups who don’t use or have access to bank accounts will receive the approved amount via paper check.

The IRS has issued a warning about a surge in coronavirus-related scams over email, phone calls, or social media requesting personal information while using the economic impact payments as a lure. Scammers are attempting to exploit the taxpayers’ distress caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and their anxiousness to receive already approved payments to get them to ‘verify’ the information needed for the money to be deposited. This stolen information will be used later by scammers to file false tax returns as part of identity theft schemes.

Here are a few tips on how you can protect yourself:

  • Note that the official term for the payment is “Economic impact payment,” Scammers are emphasizing the words “Stimulus Check” or “Stimulus Payment”.
  • The Treasury department and IRS will never ask you to verify personal information by phone/text, email or social media.
  • If you are mailed a physical check for an odd amount and it includes instructions to call a number or verify information online in order to cash it, it’s not legitimate. Do not follow the instructions.
  • Don’t trust anyone offering to get you your payment faster by working on your behalf.
  • Never provide your banking information to anyone if asked.

For continued updates from the IRS on the payments, visit https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus.