Stimulus debit cards on the way and scammers are aware

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Scammers are always looking for ways to trick people into giving out their personal information, but the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) advises it will not be calling people about the stimulus debit card.

Roughly 8 million pre-paid debit cards were mailed out to qualifying Americans since Friday, Jan. 15, as part of the federal aid prompted by the pandemic. The Visa debit card shows the stars of the flag and will come in an envelope with “Economic Income Payment” written on it.

IRS Spokesperson David Tucker said, people who receive the card should know they are legitimate.

Tucker said, “If someone lets say, during 2018 or 2018 had a tax liability, and they did not get a refund, we did not have their direct deposit information, then you would have received a paper check because a lot of people did, or a debit card.” 

However, for scammers, these stimulus payments could mean an opportunity for theft.

“What they try to do it is to send a text and say, you know, you are do an economic impact payment,” Tucker said. “And you need to provide your personal financial information to us in order to receive it.”

Tucker said the IRS will not text, call, email or contact people via social media.

People who want to check the status of their stimulus payment can check directly on the IRS website.

The Better Business Bureau Northwest + Pacific Communications Manager Roseann Freitas urges people to be aware of anything that seems suspicious.

“If something in your gut says this doesn’t feel right, really go with that,” Freitas said. “I’ve done that before, where I’ve talked to somebody and I said you know, I don’t know who you are so I’m going to call your company back to verify, and if they are legitimate they don’t have a problem with me doing that.”  

The distribution of the stimulus payments postponed the start of the tax filing season to Friday, Feb. 12. Tucker said, if people have not received their stimulus paycheck by then, they can get it in the form of a regular refund once they file the 2020 tax return.

“Make sure you fill out that recovery rebate credit portion of it,” Tucker said. “And that’s how you will receive it if you did not receive it previously as an economic impact payment, and that’s how you will receive the monies via a refundable credit.”  

The deadline to file taxes in 2021 is April 15, and those who earn $72,000 annually or less can file their taxes for free through the IRS.

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