CORONAVIRUS STIMULUS CHECK
WARNINGS AND FINANCIAL PLANNING
Veterans and their family members will automatically receive a Coronavirus stimulus check from the federal government without further action required from them as announced by the Treasury Department and the IRS on April 17th, 2020. This article is not about the Coronavirus stimulus check eligibility, but it is about what Veterans and their family members can do to protect themselves and plan for the financial opportunity that the stimulus check will provide.
SECURITY AND PROTECTION
Safety is always a factor when scammers know money will be transmitted electronically or through the mail to American households. For identity theft protection, it is recommended that you place a security freeze on your credit reports. A credit freeze will lock down your credit report and prevent identity thieves from opening any new credit in your name. Because creditors/lenders must see your credit report before they open/approve a new account in your name, a security freeze will lock out an unknown applicant. Also, you can now check your own credit report for free weekly through April 2021 at annualcreditreport.com. Freezing your credit report and checking your own credit report will not impact your credit score. If you choose to apply for credit, you can easily lift the security freeze. To understand the difference between credit monitoring and credit freeze, see https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0497-credit-freeze-faqs.
How scammers get their hands on your Coronavirus stimulus payouts and your Personal Identifiable Information (“PII”):
- They may contact you by phone, mail, text, email, and social media and try to get your PII – Name, DOB, SSN, bank account information and/or government debit card account numbers.
- They may try to charge you a fee to get your stimulus check.
The Federal Trade Commission provides the following the four tips to avoid being victimized by Coronavirus stimulus scammers [emphasis added]:
- Only use gov/coronavirusto submit information to the IRS – and never respond to a call, text, or email.
- The IRS won’t contact you by phone, email, text message, or social media with information about your stimulus payment, or to ask you for your Social Security number, bank account, or government benefits debit card account number. Anyone who does is a scammer phishing for your information.
- You don’t have to pay to get your stimulus money.
- The IRS won’t tell you to deposit your stimulus check then send them money back because they paid you more than they owed you. That’s a fake check scam.
These are only some of the possibilities to consider. If you have any questions or would like to meet with Lori Mann, please call 330-564-8030 for an appointment.
April 28, 2020 – For the Summit County Veteran Service Commission by Lori Mann, AFC®, FFC ®