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You should read this important stimulus check warning right away

Published Jan 11th, 2021 12:43PM EST
Stimulus check update
Image: Jason Raff/Adobe
  • This new stimulus check update is for anyone who hasn’t yet received their second COVID relief payment, and it involves scams to be on the lookout for.
  • Scammers are stepping up their efforts to steal your second stimulus payment.
  • So while you’re checking on your stimulus check status, these are some of the popular scams to make sure you also avoid.

President-elect Joe Biden gave the country another stimulus check update on Friday, making clear during a news conference in Wilmington, Delaware, that he’s putting together a multitrillion-dollar COVID relief package that would include something that has bedeviled Washington lawmakers for months: $2,000 stimulus checks.

More specifically, it appears that the Biden stimulus plan would include top-up stimulus payments so that whatever amount Americans get during the wave of stimulus check disbursements happening right now, the Biden plan would follow up with whatever stimulus check amount is needed to get to $2,000. And that’s only one piece of the stimulus plan his administration will immediately pursue, along with aid to small businesses, money to help with COVID vaccine distribution, and much more.

Meantime, while you wait for that to come to fruition — which won’t happen, of course, until after the Biden administration takes over on January 20 — the IRS and Treasury department are still finishing up the current wave of stimulus check distributions that’s ongoing through the end of this week, January 15 being the deadline for this new wave of stimulus payments. And as that process continues, unfortunately, it’s also important to be aware that scammers are getting craftier and are increasingly keen on conning you out of your stimulus money.

Check out our previous stimulus check update for a rundown of all the official ways your new payment could be sent to you — including via a bank direct deposit, as a paper check in the mail, or as a preloaded debit card sent through the mail.

The Federal Trade Commission and Better Business Bureau, meanwhile, have said that Americans have lost at least $211 million to scams and payment fraud related to COVID-19 and the stimulus check distributions. Among the most popular methods utilized by scammers:

  • They’ll ask people for a small up-front fee in order to get their stimulus check or to get it faster, something the government will never ask for.
  • Also, if you get a phone call, email, text, or social media message purporting to be from the government and asking for personal details like your credit card information or social security number — you guessed it, another scam.
  • According to the BBB, a common scam to especially watch out for is the request for a small payment from the person being scammed. This happened a lot during the first round of stimulus check payments, in early 2020, and tended to involve the scammer promising a person they could get their payment faster if they paid something like a “processing fee” first.
Andy Meek
Andy Meek Trending News Reporter

Andy Meek is a reporter who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming. Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.