Scams involving Economic Impact Payment checks
With many Americans receiving Economic Impact Payment checks (also referred to as stimulus checks), scammers are using this as another opportunity to attempt to trick consumers, using tactics like sending counterfeit checks and making phishing attempts.
Some people are receiving these funds directly deposited into their bank account, while some will get a paper U.S. Treasury check in the mail. If you get a paper check, be sure to look for security features like the U.S. Treasury seal, microprinting, bleeding ink and a U.S. Treasury watermark. Here's more info about what to look for. If you have concerns about the check that you received, please contact us at 618.345.1121, and we can help you verify it.
Anyone who offers early or faster payment in exchange for personal information is most likely a scammer. Do not let them persuade you otherwise. Other scams are centered on the possibility of receiving financial assistance from the government, and some scammers are pretending to be from the Social Security Administration to try to get access to your Social Security number or your money.
Tips to stay safe from phishing
Be cautious of anyone attempting to prey on your emotions by using fear or threatening messages. Emails may contain urgent-sounding messages that can make you think you need to act quickly. This is a common tactic of phishers and could indicate an attempt to gain access to your information.
Use extreme caution with emails containing links. Clicking a link in a phishing email may direct you to a fraudulent site – or worse, install malware on your device. Be sure to fully examine the message and sender before opening any included links or other content.
Watch for misspelled words. Phishing emails often contain bad grammar and misspelled words, occasionally misspelling the name of the company they’re attempting to imitate or intentionally excluding one or two letters to make it look legitimate and close to the right spelling.
Do not provide confidential information. Never respond to requests for personal information unless you initiated the conversation. We will never ask you to provide confidential information (your account number, Social Security number, password, your debit card number, PIN number, online banking login information, etc.) in emails or by a phone call to you.
Remember that cyber criminals can try to reach you via text messages too. All of the email tips mentioned in this list also apply to unsolicited text messages that you might receive. Watch for messages that contain pushy tactics or use bad grammar and misspelled words.
Some other sources of information include:
American Bankers Association - Protect your Economic Impact Payment: Top 5 Scam to Watch Out For -
IRS Warning About Coronavirus-Related Scams - https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/irs-issues-warning-about-coronavirus-related-scams-watch-out-for-schemes-tied-to-economic-impact-payments
Avoiding SSA (Social Security Administration) Scams During COVID-19 - https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2020/04/avoiding-ssa-scams-during-covid-19
American Bankers Association: Tips to Avoid Coronavirus Scams and Protect Your Money - https://www.aba.com/advocacy/community-programs/consumer-resources/protect-your-money/coronavirus-scams
FTC: Avoiding Coronavirus Scams - https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/coronavirus-scams-what-ftc-doing