By Gary G. Wallace, CPA, Managing Partner
The Internal Revenue Service issued a warning reminding taxpayers to be aware of scams related to the CARES Act stimulus payments and other schemes relating to COVID-19. Taxpayers should be aware of phishing emails and other means that request personal information.
“We urge people to take extra care during this period,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “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. That also applies to surprise emails that appear to be coming from the IRS. Remember, don’t open them or click on attachments or links. Go to IRS.gov for the most up-to-date information.”
Retirees should be especially careful. The IRS reminded that the IRS will not be contacting them by phone, email, mail or in person. The IRS is sending the payments electronically or by mail.
“Criminals take every opportunity to perpetrate a fraud on unsuspecting victims, especially when a group of people is vulnerable or in a state of need,” according to IRS Criminal Investigation Chief Don Fort.
The IRS has noticed a slew of new phishing schemes. The IRS indicated that scammers may:
- Emphasize the words “Stimulus Check” or “Stimulus Payment.” The official term is economic impact payment.
- Ask the taxpayer to sign over their economic impact payment check to them.
- Ask 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.
- Recommend that they can get a tax refund or economic impact payment faster by working on the taxpayer’s behalf. The scam may be conducted by social media or even in person.
- Mail the taxpayer a bogus check, perhaps in an odd amount, then tell the taxpayer to call a number or verify information online in order to cash it.
For more information on reporting IRS scams, see Report Phishing and Online Scams
The information contained within this article is provided for informational purposes only and is current as of the date published. Online readers are advised not to act upon this information without seeking the service of a professional accountant, as this article is not a substitute for obtaining accounting, tax, or financial advice from a professional accountant.