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Regulatory Alert: Unemployment Scams & Snail Mail Stimulus Payments

Nationwide Unemployment Scam Targets Massachusetts Claimants

AAFCPAs would like to make clients aware that on May 27th, 2020, the Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) announced that criminal enterprises in possession of stolen personal information from earlier national data breaches have been attempting to file large amounts of illegitimate unemployment claims through the Massachusetts DUA system. This is part of a national Coronavirus unemployment fraud scheme.

If you believe someone is using your identity to falsely claim unemployment benefits, the Massachusetts Department of DUA advises individuals to use their secure fraud reporting form to alert them or call the DUA customer service department at (877) 626-6800.

Stimulus Payments Mistaken as Junk Mail

Also on May 27th, 2020, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued an announcement clarifying that some Economic Impact Payments are being sent by prepaid debit card. The announcement was issued in response to reported confusion related to the distribution method. Many taxpayers, expecting direct deposit to their bank account, assumed the snail mail was a scam or junk mail.

The debit cards arrive in a plain envelope from “Money Network Cardholder Services” and are issued by MetaBank. The determination of which taxpayers received a debit card is made by the Bureau of the Fiscal Service, a part of the Treasury Department that works with the IRS to handle distribution of the payments. There are no further details on how the determination is made of who gets debit cards versus direct deposit.

The cards come with instructions listing transactions for which there are no fees. Other transactions, mostly but not all related to ATM use, may have a fee. AAFCPAs suggests that recipients of such cards review the list of no-fee transactions and move the funds into an account that will allow them to avoid fees to the best extent possible.

The IRS has provided quick links to frequently asked questions:

If you have any questions, please contact Richard Weiner, CPA, MST at 774.512.4078, rweiner@nullaafcpa.com; or your AAFCPAs Partner.

About the Author

Richard Weiner CPA
Rich has over 30 years of broad tax experience with a specialty in tax planning and consulting for private and publicly-held businesses. Rich has specific expertise in the Software, Bio-Technology, Medical Device, Life Science, Manufacturing, Retail, Professional Service and Publishing industries, as well as U.S. aspects of international taxation. He works extensively with European companies expanding into the U.S. market. Additional areas of focus include companies and stockholders in transition, including structuring of and planning for Mergers & Acquisitions, planning for changes in ownership and management, and adoption of tax methodologies with a view toward the long term. He is well known in his field and is a frequent speaker on a variety of tax related topics.