Recently, the Treasury Department announced that it had electronically sent more than 200 billion dollars of CARES Act stimulus payments to approximately 130 million Americans in the program’s first four weeks.  Payments under the CARES Act are determined in the vast majority of instances by the information contained on your 2019 income tax return or if you have not filed a 2019 income tax return yet, by your 2018 income tax return.  These tax returns are being used to determine both the amount of the stimulus check that you shall receive, which can be as much a $1,200 per person, as well as to where the stimulus payment will be made.  People who had provided their bank account number and bank’s routing number to the IRS as a part of their federal income tax return had their payments sent to their bank accounts electronically.  After May 13th the federal government began sending paper checks to those people qualifying for the stimulus checks that did not provide bank account information to the IRS.  It is expected that people will be receiving their paper checks in the mail beginning in late May and into June.

Two days ago the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued an alert informing people that some nursing homes and assisted living facilities around the country have been requiring their residents who are on Medicaid to turn over their CARES Act stimulus checks to the nursing home or assisted living facility.  These facilities argue that these payments are countable resources under Medicaid rules and must be applied toward the cost of the resident’s nursing home or assisted living services. This is categorically false.  As the FTC has indicated, the stimulus checks are considered as tax credits which are not countable resources under Medicaid rules.

TIPS

If a family member of yours is a Medicaid recipient in a nursing home or assisted living facility and has had his or her check taken by the facility you should demand that the funds be returned.  If the facility resists returning the money, contact your state Attorney General for assistance.  They are ready to help.  Here is a link to how you contact your state’s attorney general. https://www.naag.org/naag/attorneys-general/whos-my-ag.php

As for other scams related to your CARES Act stimulus payment, be aware that scammers are still quite active in using the CARES Act stimulus payments as a basis for many scams.  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 as if the call is legitimate when it is not.   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.   Also, if you are going to use the Get My Payment portal  to check on the status of your payment, make sure that you are using the correct portal.  Scammers are adept at constructing websites that look identical to the Get My Payment portal in order to steal your personal information and use it to make you a victim of identity theft.

Another good indication that you are being contacted by a scammer in regard to your CARES Act payment is that the official name of the payment is your Economic Impact Payment.  Any communication purporting to be from the federal government that refers to the payment by any other name is an obvious scam.

For those of you receiving the Scam of the day through an email, I just want to remind you that if you want to see the ever increasing list of Coronavirus scams go to the first page of the http://www.scamicide.com website and click on the tab at the top of the page that indicates “Coronavirus Scams.”

If you are not a subscriber to Scamicide.com and would like to receive daily emails with the Scam of the day, all you need to do is to go to the bottom of the initial page of http://www.scamicide.com and click on the tab that states “Sign up for this blog.”