Michigan Beware, Scams Surrounding Economic Impact Payments Are Rising
The IRS has issued a warning to Michiganders about an increasing number of economic impact payment scams.
If you don't remember what the economic impact payments are, they're the payments going directly to people as part of the American Rescue Plan. These monthly payments were intended to help everyone still dealing with the financial impact of the pandemic. The money has come in many forms, but most of us are familiar with the stimulus checks that have come out periodically throughout the year. You can get most questions answered about your payments here.
It's safe to assume that any time there is a decent amount of money changing hands, there will be someone there to try and scam you out of it.
That's exactly why the IRS is reporting that they have had more reported scams in the last two months than they've had in 10 years. The scams are not anything new or innovative, they are just opportunistic. Knowing that people have money coming in from a source that they don't normally get money from, opens up the door for the scammers.
The IRS has pointed out the two most common types of scams that are being reported this summer.
- Text messages stating that a taxpayer is eligible for a “stimulus payment” and they must click on a link to complete the necessary information to claim it.
- Phishing emails claiming the IRS has calculated a taxpayer’s “fiscal activity” and they are eligible for an Economic Impact payment in a specific amount.
The IRS has always maintained that they will never send unsolicited texts or emails, so there's your first sign. Secondly, they will rarely (if ever) threaten you or demand payments through some obscure form of payment (gift cards, crypto and such).
Phishing scams do get more and more realistic looking every year though, so the number one thing you can do is report anything that seems suspicious.