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BBB tips: What you need to know about receiving your stimulus check

MILWAUKEE –The United States Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service have begun distribution of Economic Impact Payments, with no action required for most people.

Internal Revenue Service unveiled a Get My Payment tool with features to let taxpayers check on their Economic Impact Payment date and update direct deposit information. Keep in mind, the system might be overwhelmed by the volume of individuals accessing the system. More information on Get My Payment is found on the IRS news release.

According to the BBB, this news lead to the increase of scam phone calls, text messages or emails asking for personal information and claiming people need to provide it to receive the benefits. BBB warns to not give out any information to these fake communications, as these checks are being sent out automatically, according to the IRS.  See our recent scam alerts on relief checks and fake texts

There are some scams affecting tax preparers as well. The IRS is warning tax professionals to look out for phishing schemes, increase online security and ensure client data is protected.

The BBB says Seniors are especially vulnerable to these kinds of scams. It is important during this time to check on elderly neighbors and others who may need help, to be sure they are made aware of the most recent scams relevant to the coronavirus crisis.

Tips from BBB regarding economic impact payments: 

    1. Payment or personal information is NOT required to receive your payment. The IRS has your tax information and will either mail the check directly to you, or use the direct deposit information they have on file from your tax return.
    2. If you receive Social Security and typically do not file a tax returnyou will no longer need to file a simple tax return or any other paperwork to receive the stimulus. You will automatically get the payment. See IRS.gov/coronavirus for more information. US Treasury announcement 
    3. The IRS will use your tax return for your bank account or address, and to calculate and send payments. If you filed in 2019, that information will be used. If you have not filed your 2019 return yet, 2018 filing information will be used.
    4. No one will call or email you from the government regarding your check. If you get a text, phone call, or email asking you for your personal information, do not respond.
    5. Be sure you are eligible. Tax filers who have adjusted gross income levels of $75,000 for individuals and $150,000 for couples will receive full payment. Payment is reduced by $5 for each $100 above that threshold. Individuals with income above $99,000 or couples above $198,000 with no children are not eligible.
    6. Reach out. If anyone contacts you to get your personal information, then tries to keep you on the phone or rush you to a decision, hang up. Ask someone you trust, like a family member or financial advisor, for advice.
    7. Contact your bank directly if there is a problem with your direct deposit or appears to be a hold on the stimulus check distribution.
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