The second round of economic stimulus payments and approaching tax filing season has criminals trying to trick tax payers out of their money, the IRS’s Criminal Investigation Division said Friday.
A new warning from the agency says a new wave of COVID-19-related scams could be targeting those living in the Miami Valley.
Some of the scams the IRS is seeing lately include:
- Text messages asking people to disclose bank account information under the guise of receiving $1,200 Economic Impact Payments.
- Phishing schemes that use email, letters and social media messages with key words like coronavirus, COVID-19 and stimulus in varying ways. “These communications are blasted to large numbers of people and aim to access personally identifying information and financial account information,” the IRS said.
- The organized and unofficial sale of fake at-home COVID-19 tests, as well as offers to sell fake cures, vaccines, pills and professional medical advice regarding unproven COVID-19 treatments.
- Fake donation requests for individuals, groups and areas heavily impacted by COVID-19.
- Bogus opportunities to invest in companies developing vaccines for coronavirus.
“Criminals have used the Economic Impact Payments and the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to steal from and profit off of victims,” said Bryant Jackson, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, Cincinnati Field Office. “Being aware of some of the scams can help you protect yourself from falling victim to fraud.”
COVID-19 scams should be reported to the National Center for Disaster Fraud at 1-866-720-5721.
People can also report fraud or theft of their Economic Impact Payments to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at tips.tigta.gov.
Taxpayers who receive unsolicited emails or social media attempts to gather information that appear to be from either the IRS or an organization closely linked to the IRS, should forward the message to email@example.com, the IRS said.
Cox Media Group