WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is urging taxpayers to be on the lookout for a surge of calls and emails about COVID-19 that could lead to tax-related fraud and identity theft.
“We urge people to take extra care during this period. 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,” said Chuck Rettig, IRS Commissioner, in a release.
According to a release, taxpayers should watch not only for emails but text messages, websites and social media attempts that request money or personal information.
Common themes in scammer messages include:
- Emphasizing the words “Stimulus Check” or “Stimulus Payment.” The official term is economic impact payment.
- Asking the taxpayer to sign over their economic impact payment check to them.
- Suggesting 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.
- Asking 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.
- Mailing 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.
To learn more about reporting suspected scams, go to the Report Phishing and Online Scams page on IRS.gov.
Official IRS information about the COVID-19 pandemic and economic impact payments can be found on the Coronavirus Tax Relief page on IRS.gov.