The second round of stimulus payments referred to officially as Economic Impact Payments started being sent to eligible individuals on December 30, 2020. The payments are being sent by direct deposit to bank accounts, mailed paper checks and mailed debit cards pursuant to the recently passed Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 which provides payments of up to $600 for individuals or $1,200 for married couples and up to $600 for each qualifying child under the age of 16. If you had adjusted gross income on your 2019 federal income tax return and up to $150,000 for married couples filing jointly you get the full amount of the second payments. People with income above those amounts get reduced payments. Individuals with adjusted gross income of $87,000 and couples with adjusted gross income of $274,000 are not eligible to receive stimulus payments. Any child who can be claimed as a dependent by their parents even if their parents do not claim them as a dependent on their income tax return will not be receiving a payment and college students who are 23 years of age or younger at the end of 2020 who don’t pay at least half of their own expenses also do not qualify for a payment.
Congress set a deadline of January 15, 2021 for the IRS to send out the second stimulus payments. As with the first stimulus payments, the payments will come either by a direct deposit into the bank account you used on your federal income tax form or by a debit card or by a paper check. Again, I will provide more details on these payments in future Scams of the day. If you don’t receive a payment by one of these three methods soon after January 15th you will be able to claim the amount of your stimulus payment as a “recovery rebate” on your 2020 federal income tax return.
Scammers are taking advantage of confusion as to how the new stimulus payments program works to scam people by emails such as the one reproduced below which was sent to me by a Scamicide reader that appear to offer a more substantial payment than provided for by the real stimulus program. However, the email reproduced below is a scam. If you click on the link (which has been disarmed) to “Review Now” or “Click here to unsuscribe” you will end up either downloading dangerous malware or being lured into providing personal information that will be used to make you a victim of identity theft.
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. For information about the stimulus check payments you can trust, you can go to the IRS’ website page dealing with these payments which is regularly updated with new information. Here is a link to that website .https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus-tax-relief-and-economic-impact-payments
Indications that this email is a scam are numerous and start with the email address from which it was sent which was an address that had nothing to do with the federal government. Often phishing emails will carry the logo of companies with which you do business and the better crafted ones appear quite legitimate, however, logos are easy to counterfeit and if the email from which it is being sent is obviously not connected to the purported sender company, you can be sure it is a scam. Often the email addresses used to send out these phishing email in vast numbers are email addresses of people whose email accounts have been hacked and made a part of a bot net of computers used to send out large numbers of these phishing emails without the victim of the hack even knowing his or her email account is being used in that manner.
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 has been cited by the New York Times as one of three top sources for information about Coronavirus related scams.
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