In the months since Congress passed the CARES Act which provided $1,200 payments to millions of Americans who suffered financially due to the Coronavirus pandemic, as many as twelve million people who were eligible for these payments did not receive anything.   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 had 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 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 18th the federal government began sending paper checks and debit cards to those people qualifying for the stimulus payments that did not provide bank account information on their most recent federal income tax return. However, for the millions of people who didn’t file federal income tax returns for either 2018 or 2019 because their income was too low, they have not received any stimulus payment yet although they are in desparate need of this assistance.  The IRS has sent a letter to nine million people who may be eligible for CARES Act payments that instructs them how to apply for their payment.  Here is a link to a copy of the letter.  https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/n1444aes.pdf  It is important to note that the deadline for applying for a CARES Act payment is November 21st so if you have not received a payment and believe you are eligible for such a payment, you must act quickly.

Now for the scam warning.  Scammer are already contacting people on the phone, through emails and text messages posing as the IRS and offering to help people claim their CARES Act payments.  In some instances the scammers ask for a payment in order to process your CARES Act payment.  In other instances they ask for personal information that they use for purposes of identity theft and in yet other instances they lure you into clicking on links in emails and text messages that contain malware that can lead to your being scammed or becoming a victim of identity theft.

TIPS

Trust me, you can’t trust anyone.  The IRS is not contacting you by phone, text message or email about the CARES Act payment.  Even if your Caller ID indicates the call is from the IRS, it is a simple matter for scammers to “spoof” the number of the IRS and manipulate your Caller ID so that it appears as if the call is coming from the IRS when, in truth, it is not.

It is also important to remember that there is no charge of any kind to become eligible for a CARES Act payment.  Anyone asking for such a payment is a scammer.

For information you can trust about the CARES Act stimulus payments go to this website where you can also apply online for your payment.  https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/economic-impact-payments

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.”  Scamicide was recently cited by the New York Times as one of three top sources for information about Coronavirus related 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.”