Four stimulus check scams and how to avoid them

(Supplied/US Treasury)

NATIONWIDE (WOWO): Online scams have increased immensely since the second stimulus check was distributed.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) reports 3.1 million payments totaling $5.6-billion were made in Indiana just in online scams.

In an effort to help people protect themselves, SocialCatfish.com released a list of the top four stimulus check scams and how to avoid them, based off of information released by the FTC, FBI and IRS.

  1. Robocall Check Scams: The scammer will call pretending to be the IRS and ask for your personal financial information. They will claim they need this to deposit the stimulus check into your account and will also ask for a fee to deposit said check.
    • How to avoid: Do not give out any personal information. The government already has your information on file from when you filed your taxes.
  2. Email and Text Scams: Scammers will send you a phishing email, text message, or message on social media claiming that they are the government. They may email you telling you to click on a link to “verify” information, or text message you a link to fill out an application to receive your check.
    • How to avoid: Do not click on any links that are emailed or texted to you.
  3. Fake Website: If you click on a suspicious link, they will likely take you to a fake website that will download malware onto your device and steal your information to drain your bank account.
    • How to avoid: Do not go to any website that does not end in “.gov”. If you suspect a fake website, get off of it immediately and report it.
  4. Phony Checks: Scammers have been mailing fake checks that look exactly like the official government-issued paper stimulus checks. Once deposited, the scammers text you pretending to be the government asking for some of the money back claiming too much was sent.
    • How to avoid: Make sure the check is legitimate – ask your bank to verify it. If anyone asks for a portion of the check back, tell your bank immediately.

For more information on the status of your stimulus check visit the IRS website.

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