RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — The stimulus money coming to Americans is a bonanza to scammers who are itching to get their hands on your cash and there are a variety of E-schemes criminals are using to steal your money.
With tens of millions of dollars’ worth of direct deposits and stimulus checks yet to make it into people’s hands, there is a lot of money out there available to criminals and they’ll be using phone calls and texts to try and grab some of it.
One scam involves a call supposedly from the IRS saying it needs help getting you the money. It’s not true.
The IRS will directly deposit it into your account or send you a check or debit card,” said North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein.
“They will not call you and ask for your bank account information or your social security number,” Stein said. “If someone does that they are a criminal and you should hang up..”
Another common scheme to steal your stimulus cash comes in the form of a text message.
The criminals will try and social engineer you by using a friendly pre-message like “Check this out”.
Then you’ll get a follow-up text asking you to click a link, don’t do it. because that link will lead you to a phony site that’s meant to capture your personal information like your social security number.
“Your social security number is the real key that a lot of people want to get into a variety of things,” said Tim Maniscalo of the Better Business Bureau.
To try and combat those stimulus scams the Federal Trade Commission has developed this webpage warning about the different kinds of stimulus scams out there.
That money is yours and you need to use it the best way possible.
One way to do that is to prioritize you debt and use it to pay essentials.
Your stimulus check is tax-free and you don’t have to pay it back at a later date, so if anyone calls you with a scheme telling you how to avoid taxes on your stimulus check– ignore them. It’s just another scam.