On March 27, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act was signed into law. The act provides economic relief to individuals and small businesses facing the economic downturn created by the coronavirus crisis. Although the economic impact payments will begin making their way to consumers’ accounts within the next few weeks, scammers are taking advantage now.
Some consumers are reporting receiving calls from people who claim to be from the Social Security Administration. These callers tell consumers there are problems associated with their Social Security account, and their economic impact payment will be withheld until it is solved; then ask the consumer to confirm their Social Security number. Other scammers are reaching consumers via text, saying if they pay a certain amount; they can receive their payments within 24 – 48 hours.
Your Better Business Bureau is reminding you of the following important information to avoid scams as you anticipate your economic impact payment:
- No payment or information is required. The IRS will use your 2019 tax information (2018 if you have not yet filed for 2019) to calculate and send your payments. No additional action is required on your part, including sending payments or personal information.
- Simple tax returns are available. If you do not file a tax return, complete a simple tax return to receive the stimulus payment. More information on filing this return is available at http://www.gov/coronavirus.
- No government agency will call or email you. The SSA has stated they will only contact consumers who have requested to receive a call or already have ongoing business with them. If anyone claiming to be from government agencies, such as the IRS, SSA or U.S. Treasury Department, contacts you via text, email or phone call, do not respond.
- Know your eligibility. Tax filers who have adjusted gross income levels of $75,000 for individuals and $150,000 for couples will receive full payment. Payment is reduced by $5 for each $100 above that threshold. Individuals with income above $99,000 or couples above $198,000 with no children are not eligible.
- Report scams. If a scammer contacts you, hang up or ignore the message. Report scams to BBB.org/ScamTracker, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov, or the Office of the Inspector General at oig.ssa.gov.
To learn more on economic impact payments, visit us at BBB.org/coronavirus, irs.gov/coronavirus and https://home.treasury.gov/cares.