CARES Act: Avoiding Scammers
With the recent passage of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act—a $2.2 trillion relief package—financial aid will soon be on its way to individuals and businesses impacted by the economic repercussions of COVID-19.
As part of the package, the federal government is expected to send an unprecedented 150 million one-time, tax-free payments to eligible Americans over the next few months. The banking industry is working closely with the Treasury Department to help individuals receive those payments quickly, securely and safely during this challenging time.
Scam artists, however, will see the payment disbursements as a prime opportunity to take advantage of the unsuspecting. The following are the five most common scams to be on the watch for:
Offer early access to payment
There is no exact timeline for when eligible consumers will receive economic impact payments. Anyone who promises early or fast payment in exchange for personal information is most likely a scammer.
Use suspicious phrases
The Internal Revenue Service has stated that the official term for payments is “economic impact payment.” If you receive any correspondence using the phrases “stimulus check” or “stimulus payment,” it may be a clue that a fraudster is trying to take your cash.
Send “phishy” emails or texts
Government agencies will never correspond through email or text message. If you receive a message with a link asking you to register online in order to receive your economic impact payment, you are most likely being scammed. Do not click on the link.
Make bogus phone calls & texts
Consumers do not need to take any action to receive their economic impact payment. If you receive a phone call or text from someone claiming to be from your bank or a government agency asking to verify your personal information, hang up immediately and call your bank or report it to the IRS.
Mail a phony check
Some scammers will send out fake checks—with either the correct or incorrect economic impact payment amount—and require the recipient to verify personal information in order to cash it. The only mail correspondence you should receive will come from the IRS in the form of a letter with information on how the economic impact payment was made and how to report any failure to receive the payment.
For more information about the CARES Act, visit busey.com/CARESact.