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Q. I received a telephone call and the caller states he can help me receive my stimulus check in three days. Is this a scam?

A. The United States Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service announced that distribution of economic impact payments will begin soon and will be distributed automatically, with no action required for most people. This news will lead to the increase of scam phone calls, text messages or emails asking for personal information and claiming you need to provide it to receive the benefits. BBB is warning everyone to not give out any information to these fake communications, as these checks are being sent out automatically, according to the IRS.

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. No payment or personal information is required to receive a recovery check. The IRS has your tax information and will mail the check directly to you.

2. If you typically do not file a tax return, you will need to file a simple tax return to receive the stimulus. See IRS.gov/coronavirus for more information on filing this return.

3. The IRS will use your tax return for your 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.

 

For more information:

* Check IRS.gov/coronavirus for the most recently updated information

* See BBB.org/coronavirus for recent scam information and consumer tips.

* BBB.org/COVID and BBB.org/smallbusiness for information to help business owners.

JIm Winsett is president of the Better Business Bureau in Chattanooga

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