Personal Finance

$600 stimulus checks are targeted by scammers. Here's what to watch out for

Key Points
  • Second stimulus checks of up to $600 per individual are on their way.
  • That money could be targeted by scammers.
  • If you get a text promising a direct payment, here's what the IRS says you should do.
Miami Herald | Tribune News Service | Getty Images

Second $600 stimulus checks are on their way to millions of Americans.

If you receive a text message regarding your payment, think twice before responding. The IRS is warning that those messages are scams.

The texts typically promise a stimulus check in exchange for your personal information.

"Further action is required to accept this payment into your account. Continue here to accept this payment …" a text scam may read.

The link that accompanies the message is often a fake phishing URL, even though it may appear to come from an official source like a state agency. It may direct people to an imitation IRS site, and then asks for their personal and financial details, including bank account information.

The IRS is reminding people that it does not send these kinds of unsolicited texts or emails. The government tax agency also never demands tax payments via gift cards nor does it threaten people with jail or lawsuits.

Here's how scammers are targeting your stimulus checks
How scammers are targeting your stimulus checks

If you receive such a message, the IRS encourages you to take a screenshot and email it to the agency at Be sure to include the date and time of the message, the phone number from which it came, as well as the phone number that received the text.

Notably, these schemes can promise either first or second stimulus checks.

The first payments of up to $1,200 per person were approved by Congress in the CARES Act last March.

The second stimulus checks were approved by Congress and President Donald Trump last month. Those payments include up to $600 per individual, or $1,200 per married couple, plus $600 per child under 17.

Most recipients will get the money via direct deposit. Those who do not have their bank account information on file with the IRS will get the money either by check or debit card.

Generally, no action is needed in order to receive the second stimulus payment, according to the IRS.

Individuals and families who did not receive their stimulus checks should be able to claim them when they file their 2020 taxes this spring.