Watch Out for Stimulus Check Texting Scam

Scammers are sending text messages that trick people into disclosing bank account information to get a $1,200 stimulus check.

drawing of smartphone with scam written on the screen
(Image credit: Getty Images)

According to the IRS, there's a new stimulus check texting scam that you need to know about. Thieves are sending text messages saying, "you have received a direct deposit of $1,200 from COVID-19 TREAS FUND. Further action is required to accept this payment into your account. Continue here to accept this payment."

The text then has a link to a fake phishing website that looks like the IRS's online "Get My Payment" portal. The idea is to trick people into disclosing bank account information under the guise of receiving a $1,200 stimulus check. Unfortunately, if you visit the fraudulent website and then enter your personal and financial account information, you will actually be giving this information to scammers.

Remember that neither the IRS nor any state agency will ever text you to ask for bank account information to make a stimulus check payment. They don't send unsolicited texts or emails. And they don't call people with threats of jail or lawsuits, or demand tax payments on gift cards.

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If you receive one of these phony text messages, take a screenshot of it and email it to the IRS at phishing@irs.gov. Also include the:

  • Date and time (including time zone) you received the text message;
  • Number that appeared on your Caller ID; and
  • Number that received the text message.

If who believe you're eligible for a stimulus check, go directly to IRS.gov (opens in new tab). If you're not required to file a 2018 or 2019 federal income tax return, but you're eligible for a stimulus check, you have until November 21 to use the IRS's non-filers tool (opens in new tab) to claim your payment.

Rocky Mengle
Senior Tax Editor, Kiplinger.com

Rocky is a Senior Tax Editor for Kiplinger with more than 20 years of experience covering federal and state tax developments. Before coming to Kiplinger, he worked for Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting and Kleinrock Publishing, where he provided breaking news and guidance for CPAs, tax attorneys, and other tax professionals. He has also been quoted as an expert by USA Today, Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, Reuters, Accounting Today, and other media outlets. Rocky has a law degree from the University of Connecticut and a B.A. in History from Salisbury University.