Throw out the scams, but not your economic impact payment debit card
From the office of Attorney General Rosenblum:
The attorney general wants you to know that if you receive a white envelope in the mail with a U.S. Treasury Department seal in the upper left window and these words in red on the front, "Not a bill or an advertisement. Important information about your Economic Impact Payment," don't toss it! Inside is an actual prepaid debit card loaded with your stimulus money. You just need to activate it and it is yours to spend.
In other words: It's not a scam!
The AG also wants you to know that, although these cards are legitimate, you could become the target of other types of scams related to the stimulus money — economic impact payments, or EIPs, were authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). The U.S. Treasury is in the process of paying EIPs. Payments are being made by direct deposit into the recipient's bank account, checks and even these debit cards.
That can cause confusion. If someone calls offering to help, that can seem like a lifeline to older Oregonians in particular. But that "help" may not be from official sources.
There has been a wave of new and evolving phishing schemes, relating to EIPs according to an IRS release.
"Oregonians should be especially wary during this time", Ellen Rosenblum said. "Scammers are unbelievably clever. While you're waiting to receive your long-awaited stimulus money, scammers are working hard to trick you into getting their hands on it."
Here are examples of what scammers might try to do:
• Ask you to sign over your EIP to them.
• Tell you that they need personal or banking information in order for you to receive your EIP.
• Offer to expedite your EIP by working on your behalf.
• Mail a bogus check to you, opening the door for you to "correct" your personal information online.
What To Do: If you are contacted, do not engage with anyone who seems even slightly suspicious.
If you receive unsolicited emails, text messages or phone calls from someone who claims to be associated with the IRS or an organization closely linked to the IRS, such as the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), file a complaint with the Oregon Department of Justice online at oregonconsumer.gov or call the Consumer Hotline at 1-877-877-9392 and ask that a complaint form be mailed to you.
Ellen Rosenblum serves as Oregon Attorney General.
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