By Lisa Carey
Have you already received your Tax Rebate check, or as they are now referred to, Economic Stimulus Check? Do you know the facts about this check? Do you know how yours will be delivered? Do you have important plans for your check? Just getting by? Paying off bills? No matter what you have planned our first concern is for the safe delivery of the check. With so many rumors floating around I decided to some research and find out more about the Economic Stimulus Check and dispel the myths surrounding it.
The Economic Stimulus Check is a tax rebate to taxpayers as a result of several income tax changes. Payments are sent out over the course of several weeks, with the mailing date to vary according the last two digits of the taxpayers Social Security number. For tax payers who filed electronically and had their tax refund direct deposited (or payment direct withdrawal) your income tax rebate will be direct deposited to your bank that was used for your deposit or payment. Taxpayers who submitted their income tax return via mail will have their checks issued the same day as those who filed electronically, however, their payments will be delivered via regular U.S. mail. If you have not paid your taxes or filed your return yet, your rebate will be held until that step is completed.
Many already know the amount to be issued to tax payers: $600.00 for individual taxpayer, $1200.00 for married filing jointly, and a possible $300.00 per qualifying child, born after December, 1990. However, many people do not know that they may not receive those amounts. It is possible that your Economic Stimulus Check may be offset by back taxes owed, unpaid student loans and several other government factors. How will this affect you? It is hard to tell, and you won’t know your exact amount until your check arrives.
With the availability of money and the use of technology, it is no wonder that a new phishing scam has been created regarding the Economic Stimulus Check. Phishing scams are emails that attempt to lure you to a website to gain personal or financial information. One of the newest scams is a message that appears to be from the Internal Revenue Service delivered to your email address. And like many other phishing scams this message appears to be authentic and legitimate, especially since many tax payers file electronically and use their email address to confirm their filing status.
This message is used to gain your name, address, social security and even bank account information and provides you with a link to a website and the instructions to ‘click the link below and fill out the necessary information to receive your 2008 Stimulus Economic Refund.’ If you do click the link, you are at the very least verifying that the message was sent to a ‘real’ email address, leaving yourself open to other phishing scams, even if you do not complete the ‘form.’
The Internal Revenue Service website requests that if you receive this message you forward it to email@example.com. Do not open it. Not only can this message be a phishing scam but it could also contain viruses harmful to your computer. The information stolen is all that is needed to intercept your Economic Stimulus check or even to steal your identity.
Many antivirus and email programs contain phishing detection, but if you don’t, or if you are worried about the quality of the messages you receive you may look into purchasing an antivirus software system that also provides phishing scam detection, such as Stopzilla, F-Secure Internet Security Suite, or AVG Internet Security (one of the for pay products) Trend Micro PC-cillin and many more antivirus products are designing their software to detect and stop phishing scams before they can do harm to your computer, information and credit.
Have all your questions regarding your Economic Stimulus Check answered at the official IRS.gov website. Not only does it offer a section of Frequently Asked Questions, but it also provides the opportunity to legitimately check the status of your check.
About the Author: Lisa Carey is a contributing author for
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