Have you received your stimulus payment yet? Attorney General warns of thieves stealing checks

YOUR MONEY: Be mindful someone could be trying to steal your stimulus payment

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Have you received your stimulus check yet? Some folks are still waiting patiently for theirs to come in the mail.

Americans who do not usually file taxes will soon receive their part of the stimulus package.

The Treasury Department and IRS are working on rolling out the payments for Social Security recipients and other non-filing federal beneficiaries. That includes Social Security retirement, survivor or disability, Supplemental Security Income, and Railroad Retirement Board beneficiaries, according to the IRS.

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The IRS reported on Tuesday, March 31, that recipients could receive their payment as early as this weekend, with a majority receiving their stimulus check on April 7. Recipients could receive up to $1,400 as part of the nearly $2 trillion COVID-19 relief bill President Joe Biden signed into law.

But there’s a new warning from the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office, that scammers may be lurking at your mailbox.

“As people start filing their tax returns, there will be more money going out,” said Wendy Barlin, a certified public accountant.

Barlin added if you don’t receive your check soon, you should definitely call the IRS.

“If you don’t get it by early April, my guess is it’s gone missing or had an untimely demise into the wrong hands and I would definitely look into it,” Barlin explained.

“We have had reports of stimulus checks that are being stolen out of mailboxes,” said Attorney General Jeff Landry.

Landry added stealing anything out of a mailbox is a federal offense and if it happens to you, you need to contact the proper authorities.

“Those out there that are thinking about maybe going through their neighborhoods and stealing stimulus checks, if they wake up and the federal government is knocking on their door with some handcuffs, don’t blame us,” Landry warned.

The IRS is also sending out some stimulus payments as debit cards, which some people at first think is a scam but it’s not. Thieves may be looking to steal the cards also.

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“It’s shooting fish in a barrel. They (thieves) know that billions of dollars have gone out in the mail to people who need these checks and that the government is sending those out,” said the attorney general.

If you think your stimulus check or debit card has been stolen, you may have to wait a while to get another one.

“Because the IRS has to wait for that check or that debit card to be used and then they can look at the signature. And you can then prove that that is not in fact your signature. And then, they’ll issue you your actual payment. So, unfortunately, it just causes a horrible delay through no fault of your own,” said Barlin.

Barlin recommends filing your 2020 personal income tax return now if you have not gotten your check just yet.

“Put your banking information in, your routing and your checking number, then the IRS knows where to send that stimulus money to. And as soon as that tax return hits their system, they’ll be able to see, ‘Oh, we owe this person money.’ And they’ll direct deposit it into your bank account,” Barlin explained.

Eligible individuals can check the status of their payment with the IRS’s Get My Payment tool.

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