Scammers Target Remaining Stimulus Checks: What Recipients Should Know

by Maurie Backman | Published on Nov. 7, 2021

Many or all of the products here are from our partners that compensate us. It’s how we make money. But our editorial integrity ensures our experts’ opinions aren’t influenced by compensation. Terms may apply to offers listed on this page.
An upset person with a creased brow looks at their smartphone screen.

Image source: Getty Images

Stimulus checks are still going out. Here's how to protect yours.


Key points

  • Though a third round of stimulus checks was approved back in March, those payments are still going out.
  • Here's what you can do to avoid losing your stimulus money to criminal activity.

Though the American Rescue Plan, which approved the most recent round of stimulus checks, was signed into law back in March, some people have yet to see that third payment hit their bank accounts. In fact, the IRS is still in the process of sending money out to recipients who didn't get their $1,400 payday earlier in the year.

But if you haven't gotten your stimulus money yet, you'll need to be careful. According to CNBC, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently reported that scammers are now targeting third stimulus checks, and the last thing you want to do is lose that money to fraud.

How to protect your stimulus check

Many people have been relying on their stimulus checks to cover their expenses, pay off debt, or shore up their personal finances in the wake of the pandemic. Given that inflation is making many everyday expenses cost more, a lot of people need their stimulus funds more than ever.

Unfortunately, criminals have been quite active in going after that money. One tactic they've recently employed is sending emails that appear to be from the IRS containing links for recipients to click to access their stimulus funds. But clicking one of those links could lead to a page where you're asked to input personal information that a criminal could use to steal your stimulus -- and potentially rob you in other ways, too.

How can you avoid losing out on your stimulus check? It's simple -- don't respond to any unsolicited emails. And especially steer clear of emails that contain links or ask you to provide personal financial information, like banking details.

While the IRS might reach out to you by mail, the agency does not send out emails. The IRS also won't attempt to contact you by text message or social media requesting information, so if you see something come in through one of these channels, your best bet is to flag it as fraud.

Better yet, if someone tries to scam you out of your stimulus funds, or steal any other sort of personal information, report it on the FTC's site. Doing so could help prevent another person -- someone who's perhaps less savvy than you -- from falling victim to financial fraud.

Protect yourself

Though you'd think criminals would be backing down during the pandemic, fraud has actually been extremely rampant. As of mid-October, Americans had lost a collective $586 million to fraud.

It's important to recognize the signs of a scam -- not just as they relate to your stimulus check, but across the board. Any time someone contacts you out of the blue and asks you to provide banking details, confirm your Social Security number, wire funds to a specific destination, or buy and send out gift cards, it's a sure sign that you're dealing with a scam. Your best bet is to safeguard your personal information and report those fraud attempts so the right parties can investigate and attempt to put a stop to them.

Alert: highest cash back card we've seen now has 0% intro APR until 2024

If you're using the wrong credit or debit card, it could be costing you serious money. Our expert loves this top pick, which features a 0% intro APR until 2024, an insane cash back rate of up to 5%, and all somehow for no annual fee. 

In fact, this card is so good that our expert even uses it personally. Click here to read our full review for free and apply in just 2 minutes. 

Read our free review

Our Research Expert