On March 27th, I first told you about the Coronavirus relief checks that will be going out to millions of Americans, but it is important to revisit this subject now that more details in the program have evolved.

The amount you will be receiving is dependent upon your adjusted gross income as listed on your most recent federal income tax return. People with adjusted incomes of $75,000 or less will receive $1,200 or $2,400 for qualifying individuals filing a joint income tax return.  In addition, there will be additional payments of $500 for each qualifying child.  Americans with adjusted gross income of more than $75,000 or $150,000 for a joint return will have their payment reduced by 5% of the amount your income exceeds $75,000.  The payments will disappear for single filers with adjusted gross incomes more than $99,000 and $198,000 for joint filers with no children.

The scammers have been waiting for weeks for this to become a reality and they are ready to strike.  Scammers posing as government employees will be contacting you by phone, email and text messages asking you to pay a fee in order to receive your government check.  Other scammers posing as government officials will ask for your Social Security number, bank account number or credit card number in order for you to qualify for a payment.  The truth is that you do not have to do anything to qualify for a payment.  You do not need to pay a fee.  You do not need to apply for  your check.  You do not need to provide any personal information.  Your eligibility will be determined by the IRS and your check will be either wired directly into the bank account you use to receive your income tax refund or if you have not provided the IRS with information about your bank account, your check will be sent to you by mail.  It is as simple as that.

The IRS will determine whether to send you a check and in what amount based upon the information in your 2019 income tax return or if you did not yet file your 2019 income tax return, they will make their decision based upon your 2018 income tax return.  If you are a Social Security recipient who was not required to file an income tax return, you do not have to file an income tax return to be eligible to receive a payment.  The IRS will get your income information and determine how and where to send the funds based upon your records at the Social Security Administration.

The Treasury Department is presently working on a website where you can provide your bank account information to the IRS if you had previously had your income tax refund sent to you by mail, but now wish to have the relief check sent electronically to your bank account.  If you had already provided your bank account information to the IRS in your 2018 or 2019 income tax return, you do not need to provide this information again.

TIPS

Trust me, you can’t trust anyone.  Whenever you are contacted on the phone, by email or text message, you cannot be sure who is really contacting you.  Even if your Caller ID indicates the call is from a legitimate federal agency such as the Treasury Department, it is easy for a scammer to “spoof” that number and make it appear on your Caller ID even if the call is coming from another number.   Neither the IRS, the Treasury Department or any other federal agency will be contacting you by phone, email or text message about the stimulus checks.  Anyone contacting you by phone, email or text message indicating that he or she is a federal employee is a scammer.   In regard to the funds soon to be sent to you pursuant to the Coronavirus stimulus package you will not have to make a payment or  provide any personal information in order to receive your check.  Please share this Scam of the day with your friends and family and let them know about http://www.scamicide.com so we can help more people avoid being scammed during this vulnerable time.

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