Federal Stimulus Payment Scam
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel issued an urgent consumer alert urging Michiganders to be on high alert for bad actors aiming to coerce them out of their personal information in a new federal stimulus payment scam.
Scammers are using the news that the federal government will send one-time payments to millions of people across the country as part of the federal economic relief response to COVID-19 to steal personal information.
The Michigan Department of Attorney General has already received reports that residents are getting emails from websites appearing to be official demanding that they provide PayPal, bank account or other financial information to receive the $1200 federal stimulus payment immediately.
If you receive a text, email or phone call from someone claiming to be from the government with a check for you—DO NOT FALL FOR IT. These fake phishing scams will likely ask you for your bank account information and insist $1,000 or more will be deposited directly into your bank account.
Stay alert: Do not, under any circumstances, give away your personal information via text, e-mail, or phone.
How can you be sure it’s a scam? Pay attention to these signs:
Any request for payment. There is no up-front payment, fee, or charge of any kind to receive the stimulus payment. You will not be asked to pay any money, including a "processing fee." Anyone claiming to be from the federal, state, or local government asking for any payment is an imposter. Do not respond to any type of contact asking for a payment of any kind. Remember: only scammers will ask you to pay to receive stimulus money. Do not fall for it!
Any request for personal or financial information. The government will not call or text you to verify or ask for your Social Security number, bank account, or credit card number in order to release the funds. Do not enter your personal or financial information in response to an email, text, or webpage appearing to look like the federal government. Only scammers will demand that you provide your personal information – Social Security numbers, bank account numbers, debit and credit cards, or PINs – to receive stimulus funding.
Any offers to help you apply for the stimulus payment. There is absolutely no application process to receive the stimulus payment. Payment will be made automatically by direct bank deposit or check mailed to your home. Anyone who tells you they can help you apply for this money is a scammer.
Any grant offers related to the stimulus payment. Bad actors may leave messages requesting personal or financial information in exchange for so-called immediate stimulus money through a grant or for confirmation of identity to receive the funding. In different variations, scammers may promise additional financing beyond the designated stimulus amount in exchange for a small payment or personal information. There is no grant money.
Also be sure to never open attachments or links sent from anyone claiming to be from the government. Do not reply and delete the message right away.
For the most accurate and up-to-date information regarding the federal stimulus payment and specific disbursement details, only visit the IRS website.
Remember, the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection webpage is always available as a resource for consumers to turn to.