The IRS has warned taxpayers against tax scams and identity thefts related to the coronavirus (COVID-19). Taxpayers are expected to watch out for calls, emails, text messages, websites and social media attempts that request money or personal information.
“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,” IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig emphasized. The IRS also informed taxpayers that the IRS would deposit economic impact payments into the direct deposit account taxpayers previously provided on tax returns. Retirees were also reminded that no one from the IRS would reach out to them by phone, email, mail or in person asking for any kind of information to complete their economic impact payment (sometimes referred to as “rebates” or “stimulus payments”).
Scammers may defraud taxpayers by:
- emphasizing the words “stimulus check” or “stimulus payment”;
- asking taxpayers to sign over their economic impact payment check to them;
- 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;
- suggesting that they can get a tax refund or economic impact payment faster by working on the taxpayer’s behalf; or
- mailing the taxpayer a bogus check, then telling the taxpayer to call a number or verify information online in order to cash it.
The IRS urges taxpayers who have received unsolicited emails, text messages, or social media attempts to gather information that appear to be from either the IRS or an organization closely linked to the IRS and forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Taxpayers can learn more about reporting suspected scams by visiting the IRS Report Phishing and Online Scams webpage ( https://www.irs.gov/privacy-disclosure/report-phishing).
Official IRS information about the COVID-19 pandemic and economic impact payments can be found on the Coronavirus Tax Relief webpage ( https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus).