The recently-passed CARES Act provides economic relief for citizens affected by job loss and instability caused by COVID-19. Aside from several high-profile rescue packages for businesses and industries, ordinary workers can look forward to stimulus checks of up to $1,200 per person and $2,400 for married couples.
These direct cash payments are high-priority for many people, but cybercriminals are also hoping to take advantage of any confusion or questions surrounding their distribution. Tap or click here to see the stimulus scams to watch out for.
Not everyone knows whether they’re eligible for a stimulus check, but a new update from the IRS may shed some light on the matter for Americans who didn’t file taxes or don’t plan to. A new website has been unveiled where non-filers can submit their direct deposit information and get the much-needed relief they deserve.
Non-filers, the time is now!
The Treasury Department has launched a brand new website designed to help non-filers and low-income earners qualify for their stimulus checks. The website takes the form of a tax questionnaire and asks for personal information like your address and bank account so you can receive your check by mail or direct deposit.
Previously, there had been no official announcement on whether or not non-filers would qualify for relief at all. This new update shows that major progress has been made so as many Americans can get the help they need as possible.
According to the website, you’ll need to provide the following information to get your stimulus check:
- Full name, current mailing address and an email address
- Date of birth and valid Social Security number
- Bank account number, type and routing number, if you have one
- Identity Protection Personal Identification Number (IP PIN) you received from the IRS earlier this year if you have one
- Driver’s license or state-issued ID, if you have one
- For each qualifying child: name, Social Security Number or Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number and their relationship to you or your spouse
Once you’ve submitted the information to the IRS, you’ll get a confirmation on whether the process was successful. You can expect to start seeing payments go out as early as next week, but direct deposits will arrive several weeks before physical checks can be mailed out.
If you did file taxes but aren’t sure if the IRS has your direct deposit information, don’t worry. In the next few weeks, the IRS says another form should be available where you can submit bank information and get a direct deposit instead of a paper check.
To be clear, this is probably about the only time we’d recommend sharing your personal information with a website. But this is the federal government, not a shady anonymous website or person demanding your info.
But scammers think you might be gullible enough to share it anyway. Tap or click to see the scams so convincing the IRS had to issue warnings about them.
Beware: scams on the rise
Scammers are taking advantage of the coronavirus relief plans by sowing doubt and confusion among innocent taxpayers. Many scams involve deceptive text messages or emails that instruct the victim to provide personal information to “qualify” for their check.
Others ask for direct payments or “processing fees” to expedite the arrival of a paper check or direct deposit.
One particularly crafty scam told victims that they had an outstanding tax bill and that they wouldn’t get a relief check unless they paid what they owed (in the form of gift cards, no less).
Of course, these all seem ridiculous in hindsight but imagine someone desperate for relief that receives one of these scams in the mail. A bit of quick cash can seem like a glimmer of hope, and people will be more willing to give up private information to get early access. Tap or click here to see the top 7 scams you need to avoid.
It might seem like common knowledge, but it bears repeating: Never share your bank account information with anyone you don’t know. Odds are, you’re dealing with a scammer instead of a real person. The same goes for addresses, phone numbers and Social Security Numbers.
You don’t want to be added to a list or have a loan taken out in your name, right? Never forget that the government will only ask for your personal information if you go to them with it, not the other way around. What’s more, they won’t call you by phone or harass you by email. Snail mail is just fine for them.
In the meantime, keep your eyes open for any incoming direct deposits or checks arriving in the mail. Paper checks with instructions to pay money of any kind can be promptly ignored, as these are another scam circulating at the moment.
Otherwise, that sweet relief check should be coming your way very soon. We’ll be updating this story with more information as it comes in from the IRS.