With lots of upcoming activity that requires the use of Personal Identifying Information (PII) for various government financial assistance programs, the Alexandria Police Department would like provide tips to avoid falling victim to any fraudulent activity. Criminals will not only target private individuals in reference to personal stimulus funds, but will also target commercial businesses under the disguise of the various business loan programs now becoming available. Please review the tips below to remain secure during this time.
Personal Stimulus Checks
Citizens should be receiving stimulus checks using the method of delivery for previous tax returns. The vast majority of citizens will require no action to be taken on their part.
Within approximately 15 days of receiving your payment, you will receive mail notice from the IRS indicating the method of payment, amount, and an IRS Phone Number to call if you did not receive your payment. Criminals will attempt to take advantage and could attempt to send similar mail-outs with altered information. Carefully review any phone numbers or methods of contact regarding any requests for information. When in doubt, visit www.irs.gov.
At no time should you respond to any texts, emails, or phone calls with any PII no matter what information the person contacting you seems to have. Originate the call yourself to a recognized phone number from the relevant .gov websites.
If your information has changed, you no longer file tax returns, or have any questions or appeals regarding this process visit https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/economic-impact-payments-what-you-need-to-know for information specifically related to personal stimulus payments.
Business Impact Loans/Payments
Various businesses will qualify for government programs and SBA Loans through SBA Approved Lenders only. This excludes the majority of various payday/cash loan type businesses that would typically solicit through email, text, or phone.
Please contact your personal bank or established lender and do not respond to any unsolicited contact through phone or email.
Please be aware criminals will not only be attempting to acquire your business information posing as a lender, but will also be taking advantage of business to business transactions. For example, if you receive a call or email posing as a business you regularly deal with, a criminal may try to convince you that due to COVID-19 they would like to change the way they receive their payments from your business. Although this could be a legitimate request, please retrieve the new account information in person or over the phone speaking with someone you know, rather than using account information sent to you in an email. Phone numbers and emails can easily be spoofed and compromised to impersonate a business or location. These emails will seem legitimate and are often convincing.
Carefully review and vet any requested changes to payments leaving your business.
Please visit https://www.sba.gov/page/coronavirus-covid-19-small-business-guidance-loan-resources for any questions surrounding SBA Loans related to COVID-19.
Again, the IRS will NOT be soliciting through phone, text, or email. SBA Lenders whom you do business with may contact you, but be cautious and speak with individuals you personally know. Stay aware and remain vigilant with any contact or situation surrounding the use of your PII.