|IRS-Related Coronavirus Scam
As you might all be aware, under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act signed into law on Friday, March 27, 2020, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will be delivering Economic Impact Payments (EIP) to eligible taxpayers who filed tax returns for either 2019 or 2018. Approximately 160 million taxpayers will be receiving these payments through direct deposit or physical Treasury Checks. The TIGTA Office of Investigations anticipates criminals will engage in various scams and schemes in attempts to intercept EIPs, and/or steal sensitive taxpayer information during these challenging times.
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CORONAVIRUS RELATED IRS IMPERSONATION
Taxpayers will likely encounter fraudulent web pages or social media-based communications and/or receive phishing email, text messages, or other communications which claim to be from the IRS asking for sensitive personal information from taxpayers or payments in order to receive their EIP. These are scams. Taxpayers should not follow any embedded links or open any attached files. In some cases, scammers may use these communications to try to install malicious program on the victim’s phone or computer.
In order to avoid falling victim to fraudulent individuals either impersonating or claiming to represent the IRS, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration offers the following tips to taxpayers:
ECONOMIC IMPACT PAYMENT FRAUD
- The IRS will generally first contact people by mail, not by phone, about tax-related matters.
- If the IRS does contact you by telephone, they will not insist on any pre-payment using an iTunes card, gift card, prepaid debit card, money order, or wire transfer, in order to receive EIP.
- The IRS will also never request personal or financial information by e-mail, text, letter, or any social media.
TIGTA is responsible for conducting statutory oversight of issues relating to Federal Tax Administration, and as such, regularly investigates fraudulent activity related to financial distributions of funds, including EIP, which are issued by the IRS. In some cases, taxpayers will receive their EIP from the IRS through the issuance of a physical U.S. Treasury Check which will be received through the US Postal Service. Based on historical trends in illicit activity, TIGTA reminds all taxpayers of the following in order to avoid being victimized by an EIP-based Treasury Check scam:
- To check on the status of your EIP, please visit IRS.gov and click on “Get My Payment.” Only use the website IRS.gov. Do not use any other websites or services that claim to be able to process your EIP or act as an intermediary between you and the IRS. Similarly, do not click on links in email that purport to take you to the IRS website. The best practice is to manually type “IRS.gov” into your web browser.
- Anyone claiming to be from the IRS and offering to process your EIP is impersonating the IRS. Do not share any personal or financial information with these scammers. Please report this activity on this site.
- Do not share your personal information with anyone, whether claiming to be from the IRS or some other business or agency, offering to assist you with your EIP. Payments will come directly from the IRS either through direct deposit to your bank or paper U.S. Treasury Checks.
- Do not share your online banking username or password with anyone. The IRS does not need your online banking username and password in order to send your EIP.
- After your EIP has been sent, the IRS will send you a letter confirming your payment. If you receive this letter, but you have not received your EIP, please report the missing payment on this site. You will also need to report the missing payment separately to the IRS.
- Scammers may try to convince victims to deposit fraudulent physical U.S. Treasury checks, in their name or in others’ names, into the victim’s bank account. After the victim makes the deposit, the scammers request that the victim sends funds from that deposit to another account, or use those funds to purchase pre-paid cards.
Please note: This form is intended for reports relating to stolen EIPs. For issues related to EIP direct deposits, which were not routed correctly, please contact the IRS at 800-919-9835.
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