The IRS has issued a warning to the public to be on the lookout for a surge of calls and e-mail phishing attempts related to the coronavirus pandemic and the one-time economic impact payment.
The IRS says that scammers may do the following when trying to contact you:
- Emphasize the words stimulus check or stimulus payment. If someone in an official capacity uses these terms your concern level should rise. The official term is economic impact payment.
- Ask you to sign over your economic impact payment check to them.
- Ask by phone, e-mail, text or social media for verification of personal information including your bank account information. The excuse given is that the information is being verified in order to send you your economic impact payment.
- Suggest that you can get a tax refund or economic impact payment faster by working with them on your behalf.
- Mail you a bogus check, then tell you to call a number or verify information online in order to cash it.
What you can do
- Be aware. Awareness is key. If it seems unusual, it probably is.
- Help the vulnerable. Seniors are often the target of these scams. So stay in touch with parents and grandparents as it relates to coronavirus activity. Tell them to let you know when they receive their payment. Make sure they understand that no personal information is required to receive these payments.
- Report suspicious activity. If you receive unsolicited e-mails, text messages or any other type of attempt to gather information that appears to be from either the IRS or an organization closely linked to the IRS (such as the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System, or EFTPS), you should forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org.