The IRS is urging citizens to be on high alert for scams related to the COVID-19 economic impact payments. While more than 80 million taxpayers who opted for direct deposit should have already received the payment, millions more will receive the stimulus via a check in the mail.
US Attorneys around the country are expecting these payments to coincide with a rise in scam calls, scam emails and text messages as criminals attempt to leverage the payout as an opportunity to defraud individuals. Seniors and the disabled are uniquely vulnerable, as they don’t normally file tax returns and their stimulus payments will be sent automatically with no further action required to receive it.
“Our office is on the lookout for scam artists who try to steal these much-needed economic impact payments from the pockets of our citizens,” said U.S. Attorney Michael Bailey. “Educate yourself about common scams, be vigilant in protecting your information, and report any attempted fraud.”
The IRS does not contact anyone to request additional information via email, text, call, or in-person to issue an economic impact payment. Any contact asking for information regarding an economic impact payment should be considered suspicious. If contacted, the IRS recommends people hang up the phone, ignore the email, or shut the door, and report the scam to the IRS or the National Center for Disaster Fraud hotline at 1-866-720-5721 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.