Navigating COVID-19 Update #5 by COVE (Community of Vermont Elders)
BEWARE OF STIMULUS CHECK SCAMS
The government is preparing to distribute stimulus checks to help provide relief to households due to the coronavirus crises. Individuals with adjusted gross incomes of less than $75,000 should expect to receive $1200 with couples receiving $2400, and $500 per child. The rate is adjusted if the gross income is more than $75,000. This will be based on your 2019 tax return, or 2018 if you haven’t filed yet for 2019.
Please keep in mind that it is estimated to take weeks for these checks to be distributed. Your stimulus check will be directly deposited into your bank account if funds you received from your 2018 tax return were directly deposited. Otherwise your paper check will arrive by mail.
Social security beneficiaries will automatically receive a stimulus check via direct deposit. There is no need to complete any tax information. The IRS will automatically use what the Social Security Administration has on file.
Scammers are already using this opportunity to steal the money coming your way or your identity by getting access to your personal information.
Beware of the following:
Fake Stimulus Checks. There are fake checks circulating right now. It will take at least three weeks for direct deposits to land and up to 10 weeks for paper checks to arrive by mail. If you receive any checks now, it is a fraud. Telltale signs are checks written in odd amounts or include cents, or a check that requires you to verify receipt online or by calling a number.
Facebook, text, or social media messages claiming to get in touch with you. Scammers are reaching out to people online on social media platforms or by sending text messages with claims they are from the IRS or other government agency and are trying to get in touch with you regarding your stimulus check. Ignore these messsages. The U.S. Government will never reach out to you via any social media platform or by text.
US Emergency Grants Federation is a fake website. Scammers pose as a government agency and will send a link to this website or something similar for you to verify personal information. The government does not do this. The government already has the informationt they need and will not reach out to you for verification of your social security number or other personal identification.
Processing Fee. Scammers pose as the IRS or other government agency claiming you can receive your stimulus check faster if you pay a processesing fee. There is no such thing and there is no way to speed up the IRS payment process.
Any correspondence with the IRS or U.S. Treasury. The IRS will never call or email you to verify any personal information. This includes your social security number, bank account number, or anything that allows access to your identity. As soon as you receive a call or email saying they are from the IRS or U.S. Treasury, hang up or trash it.
These scammers and fraudsters are professional criminals and will use a variety of methods to steal your personal identification and your money. They use scare tactics and even attempt to befriend vulnerable people into trusting them.
To report a scam call or email contact the Vermont Attorney General’s Consumer Assistance Program at 1800-649-2424.
Feel free to reach out to your friends at COVE if you feel you are a victim of a scam or fraud, We can provide you with the appropriate resources and guide you to the best agency to further help.
Ruby Baker, Executive Director
Anita Hoy, Senior Medicare Program Director
Anita@vermontelders.org or 802-279-1678
Laura Bill, Southern Vermont Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator
LauraB@vermontelders.org or 802-595-6077
Marichel Vaught, Building Bridges Program Director/Northern Vermont Coordinator
Marichel@vermontelders.org or 802-595-9872
The Community of Vermont Elders is committed to keeping older Vermonter safe and well-informed. We will continue to share new information as we learn it. Our staff is working remotely. If you have questions, call or email Marichel Vaught at: 802-595-9872 or email@example.com.