Now that the COVID-19 economic stimulus checks have begun to roll out, we would like to ensure that all Liberty customers are educated on the stimulus checks and the potential scam risks present in response to the payments.
If you anticipate receiving a stimulus check, here are some important things to consider…
Your eligibility status
You are eligible to receive a stimulus check if you…
- Filed your taxes as a single US resident, earning less than $99,000
- Filed your taxes as a head of household, earning less than $146,500
- Filed your taxes jointly WITHOUT children and earn less than $198,000
- Currently receive Social Security retirement, disability (SSDI), survivors benefits, Railroad Retirement, or veterans benefits
Please visit this link to the IRS's website in order to view the full, comprehensive list of eligibility requirements.
Being claimed as a dependent, not filing taxes, or making over $99,000-$198,000 (depending who you are) could mean you are not eligible to receive a stimulus check.
How you'll receive your stimulus money
If you are eligible to receive a stimulus check, it will be distributed by the IRS using the most recent information they have on file for you as an individual or family. However you chose to pay your taxes and how you chose to receive your tax refund (if eligible), will be how you receive your stimulus check.
Where your stimulus money will come from
Stimulus checks will come from the IRS. The IRS is not using middlemen or other third parties to help distribute stimulus checks.
What you will use your money for
The stimulus checks are intended to help make up for any income lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Recipients are encouraged to use the checks to pay for essential needs like rent, monthly payments, and groceries. However, once you receive the check, the money is yours and you are free to spend it any way you like.
Here are some ways to protect yourself against scams and fraudulent checks:
ONLY ask the IRS
Stimulus checks will only be distributed by the IRS. All questions, comments, concerns, or inquiries should be directed straight to the IRS’s website.
Do not give out your personal info
The IRS will never reach out to you and ask for your personal information, especially not your social security number. The IRS will also never reach out to you via email, phone call, text message, or social media. Be wary of fraudsters claiming to be the IRS.
Stimulus money is free
You do not need to pay anyone, including the IRS, in order to receive your stimulus money. Anyone asking you to pay them in order to receive your stimulus money is attempting to scam you.
The IRS will not overpay you
Scammers impersonating the IRS may claim that you were sent too much money, and ask you to send them back a check with the "extra" money. This is a common tactic used by criminals, the IRS will not ask you to send back any for your stimulus money.
It is important to stay informed and protected in these unusual times. If you have any more questions, comments, or concerns about receiving stimulus checks, or you believe that you may have been the target of a stimulus related scam, we highly encourage all of our customers to consult the IRS’s website and call their help line.
IRS Website: https://www.irs.gov/
IRS Help resources: https://www.irs.gov/help/telephone-assistance
We are happy to help with any questions you may have. Simply call our Freedomline at 800.436.6300 or contact your local branch.