Look out for these COVID-19 scams

Economic impact payments and related scams soon to arrive

Look out for these COVID-19 scams

Ohio taxpayers need to be alert regarding scams relating to COVID-19 economic impact payments, the United States Attorney’s Office and Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) warned in a release.

“As your stimulus checks come in, so will the scams,” U.S. Attorney DeVillers said in a written statement. “Beware of anyone seeking personal information in exchange for promises about your check.”

U.S. Attorney DeVillers and Special Agent in Charge Jackson offer the following tips to avoid scams and understand how the economic impact payments work.

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  • The IRS will not call and ask you to verify your payment details. Do not give out your bank account, debit account, or PayPal account information even if someone claims it’s necessary to get your check. It’s a scam.
  • If you receive a call, don’t engage with scammers or thieves, even if you want to tell them that you know it’s a scam, or you think that you can beat them. Just hang up.
  • If you receive texts or emails claiming that you can get your money faster by sending personal information or clicking on links, delete them. Do not click on the links.
  • Bogus checks may also exist. If you receive a check in the mail now, it is not legitimate. Treasury checks have not yet been mailed. If you receive a check for an odd amount (especially one with cents), or a check requiring you to verify the check online or by calling a phone number, it is a fraud.
  • The IRS will not ask you to send money before it will issue your economic impact payment. If someone asks you to send money to get your payment, do not send money.

“Ruthless criminals will take this opportunity to prey upon our fears in order to try and line their own pockets by stealing your money or your personal information,” said Bryant Jackson, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, Cincinnati Field Office in the release.

COVID-19 economic impact payments will be issued in the coming weeks, and for most Americans, will directly deposit into their bank accounts.

Those who are unbanked or recieve tax refunds through paper check can expect their economic impact payment through paper check as well.

For more information, visit the IRS website at www.irs.gov/coronavirus.

To report fraud related to the coronavirus, email disaster@leo.gov or call 1-866-720-5721.