We've mentioned previously how prevalent digital scamming is in the age of COVID-19. However, scammers aren't just digital. They are offline as well. With the government providing stimulus checks directly to individuals, coupled with the urgent financial need that people have in such trying times, scammers continue to find new ways to take advantage of people. The best defense for your customers to avoid scammers is to be familiar with their techniques.
Digital scams are the most popular method scammers use to try and make people give up their hard-earned money. As of May 8, the IRS sent direct deposits and paper checks for stimulus relief to ~140 million Americans. But there's still quite a few who haven't received any payment. Scammers are on the lookout for these people. Some of the ways they are trying to get sensitive personal information include:
- Spoofed emails from the IRS asking for the recipient's social security number in order to send a stimulus check.
- Asking for money back because too much was sent.
- Asking for bank account numbers in order to immediately deposit a stimulus check.
The IRS will not ask for any of the above information. In fact, they aren't contacting people about stimulus checks. The only people reaching out about stimulus checks are scammers. To ensure customers receive their stimulus checks, their direct deposit information should be current, which can be updated at https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/economic-impact-payments.
Mail And Phone Scams
Of course, digital is not the only way to go for scammers. Phone and regular mail are also popular choices. Scammers work their magic by using the same techniques as above except mostly through phone and some through regular mail. To avoid being scammed, let your customers know that the IRS will not reach out to them for additional information about sending a stimulus check. Instead, those customers who have not received a check yet should follow the above link.