MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The Alabama Department of Revenue is reminding taxpayers to be vigilant about protecting their information, warning criminals may attempt scams related to the federal government’s upcoming stimulus checks.
ADOR said legitimate government agencies will not ask for financial or other personal information through an email, text or phone call. Messages from scammers may say something to the variation of, “in order to receive your/your client’s stimulus payment via direct deposit, we need you to confirm the banking information.”
Scammers would then get the information during a phone call or direct the victim to enter their information on a website.
ADOR said the stimulus payments, along with extension due dates, create opportunities for criminals. People should be on the lookout for:
- Increase in phishing schemes from criminals looking to gather information
- Opportunities for criminals to take advantage of identity theft because the filing extension period may provide an expanded time frame before the real taxpayer files
- Increase in fraudulent zero balance returns if it's determined people who don't normally file need to file a return in order to get the stimulus payment
- Possibility of criminals filing returns with a low balance due so that they have a filing record that can be used to allow them access to the stimulus funds (a small balance due is worth it for a larger stimulus payment)
For more on coronavirus-related scams and how to avoid them, visit the Federal Trade Commission’s website.
ADOR said the federal government is planning to issue as many stimulus checks through direct deposit as possible and use tax information from 2019 or 2018.
If you develop symptoms for the coronavirus and need to be tested, call 1-888-264-2256.