Coronavirus Tax Scams
Be on the lookout for IRS impersonation calls, texts, and email phishing attempts to collect your Coronavirus Economic Impact Payments or your personal information. The scam often leads to tax fraud and tax identity theft.
What Does This Coronavirus Tax Scam Entail?
Recently, scammers are attempting to take your identity in order to steal your Economic Impact Payment, money sent from the U.S. government to individuals used to stimulate our economy, and help those in financial strain.
According to the IRS, scammers attempt to do one of two things:
- Sign over your check to them
- Get you to “verify” your filing information in order to receive your money, using your personal information to file false tax returns in an identity theft scheme
Here’s What You Should Know About Coronavirus Tax Scams
Scammers typically try to impersonate an IRS agent. They may ask you to sign over your Economic Impact Payment check to them, ask you for banking info, suggest they can help you get your payment faster by working with them, or even issue a bogus check then tell you to call a number or verify information online in order to cash it.
Scammers will try to obtain personal information from you such as your name, Social Security Number (SSN), and date of birth with the hope of getting an Economic Impact Payment.
Even if they can’t get your payment, they can also make up a fake W-2 using your information and file a tax return claiming a refund in your name, deposited into their bank account electronically.
Prevent Yourself from Being Scammed
Other than the IRS’s official website, IRS.gov, or your tax provider, you shouldn’t provide tax information to any entity other than the IRS. Don’t open any unsolicited emails or links that look like they’re coming from the IRS. Avoid any social media account or website that requests money or personal information.
The IRS won’t ever call, email, or text you to verify or request your financial, banking or personal information. IRS examiners typically work through mail or in person. (See more information on IRS phone scams.)
Facts About Economic Impact Payments
- The IRS will deposit Economic Impact Payments into the bank account you provided on your 2019 or 2018 tax return.
- Anyone who is eligible for a payment and doesn’t provide direct deposit information will have a check or debit card mailed to the last address the IRS has on file.
Share this information with family and friends, as anyone could get hit with this emerging tax scam. If you do receive communication from a fraudster via the phone, just hang up. If you receive unsolicited emails claiming to be from the IRS, forward the emails to firstname.lastname@example.org.