The IRS has issued a warning to taxpayers about calls and email phishing attempts dealing with COVID-19 or the Coronavirus. Main concerns center around identity theft and tax-related fraud. Taxpayers should watch for emails, text messages, websites and social media attempts that request money or any personal information.
According to IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig, “The IRS isn’t going to call you asking to verify or provide your financial information so you can get an economic impact payment, or your refund faster.” Commissioner Rettig continues,” That also applies to surprise emails that appear to be coming from the IRS. Remember, don’t open them or click on attachments or links.”
- Emphasize the words “Stimulus Check” or “Stimulus Payment.” The official term is economic impact payment.
- Ask the taxpayer to sign over their economic impact payment check to them.
- Ask by phone, email, text or social media for verification of personal and/or banking information saying that the information is needed to receive or speed up their economic impact payment.
- Suggest that they can get a tax refund or economic impact payment faster by working on the taxpayer’s behalf. This scam could be conducted by social media or even in person.
- Mail the taxpayer a bogus check, perhaps in an odd amount, then tell the taxpayer to call a number or verify information online in order to cash it.
In most cases, the IRS will deposit economic impact payments into the direct deposit account taxpayers previously provided on tax returns. Those taxpayers who have previously filed, but not provided direct deposit information to the IRS will be able to provide their banking information online to a newly designed secure portal on IRS.gov in mid-April. If the IRS does not have a taxpayer’s direct deposit information, a check will be mailed to the address on file. Taxpayers should NOT provide their direct deposit or other banking information for others to input on their behalf into the secure portal.
Anyone who receives unsolicited emails, text messages or social media attempts to gather information, from those saying they’re with the IRS or an organization linked to the IRS, should forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org
Taxpayers are encouraged NOT to engage potential scammers online or on the phone. Learn more about reporting suspected scams by going to Report Phishing and Online Scams page on IRS.gov.
Please go to IRS.gov for the most up-to-date information.