Economic stimulus payments authorized by legislation passed by Congress and signed into law by the president on Dec. 27, started direct depositing into banks accounts on December 29. 

The US Treasury calls this money Economic Impact Payments or EIP, and since this is the second round of these payments in a year, many are referring to this as EIP 2.0. U.S. citizens and resident aliens not claimed as a dependent are eligible for EIP 2.0. This round of payments gives us $600 each, or $1,200 for couples filing jointly. Qualifying children also receive $600. EIP 2.0 goes to singles earning $75,000 or less in 2019, or couples earning $150,000. If you earned more than that, your EIP diminishes as your income rises. 

When you read this, the treasury will already have deposited a great percentage of the direct deposits. It expects those deposits to conclude this month. If you didn’t get a direct deposit, keep a close eye on your mail. The Treasury will distribute EIP by check and debit card, and can’t tell us who receives which form of payment. 

During the EIP 1.0 distribution in spring 2020, many people received debit cards, and discarded them before realizing the cards were legitimate. EIP 2.0 debit cards will arrive in a white envelope bearing the US Treasury seal. You will see VISA labeled onto the front side of the card, and the name of the issuing bank, Metabank, on the reverse side of the card.

If you want to check the status of your payment, go to IRS.gov and open Get My Payment. 

With the distribution of the EIP, we can look forward to criminals doing their best to wrest this money from its intended beneficiaries. I received one call already from a Camanche man who said he received two calls from crooks who said they needed his social security number if he wanted to receive his money. Here’s three quick bullet points:

• No government agency will ever ask you to pay anything up front to get your money

• No government agency will ever call, text, email, or contact you on social media, asking for your social security, bank account, or credit card number

• You won’t get your money any earlier or faster by a hooking up with a third party who promises you it can get the money to you faster, or at all, in exchange for money or information

Be alert and don’t help people steal your money.

Western Union refunds victims their stolen money

The U.S. Department of Justice announced another series of refunds set to mail out to victims of fraud facilitated by Western Union. The government sued Western Union several years ago, alleging that without Western Union’s cooperation, tens of thousands of Americans would not have lost hundreds of millions. Western Union settled the lawsuit, and agreed to pay. 

The government sent out $153 million already to victims who fell for grandparent, lottery, sweepstakes or romance scams. The latest announcement promises another $147 million forthcoming. 

I worked with one Clinton couple for a couple of years, and helped them file for their refund, and they did receive their money. The key to their success was they made a police report when they discovered their mistake of falling for the scam. It’s a strong message to us: If you fall for a scam, report it to authorities. It’s a much better thing to have these things on record, and accessible for later use, than to learn years later about a refund, and have to scramble to make a claim.

Contact Seniors Vs. Crime

Let me know about scams, fraud, or other crookedness you run across. Most of what I learn, I learn from you. Contact me at Seniors vs. Crime, Clinton County Sheriff’s Office, (563) 242-9211 extension 4433, or email me at randymeier@gapa911.us.