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Beware of Scams Tied to COVID-19 Economic Impact Payments

The IRS is warning you to be on the lookout for a surge of calls and e-mail phishing attempts related to COVID-19.

They will come in the form of e-mails, text messages, websites and social media attempts that request money or personal information.

It can come in many forms

The IRS says that scammers may do the following when trying to contact you:

  • Emphasize the words “stimulus check” or “stimulus payment.” The official term is economic impact payment.
  • Ask you to sign over your economic impact payment check to them.
  • Ask by phone, e-mail, text or social media for verification of personal and/or banking information saying that the information is needed to receive or speed up your economic impact payment.
  • Suggest that you can get a tax refund or economic impact payment faster by working with them on your behalf. This scam could be conducted by social media or even in person.
  • Mail you a bogus check, perhaps in an odd amount, then tell you to call a number or verify information online in order to cash it.

Some live examples

Here are some audio examples of scam calls put out by the Federal Trade Commission.

What you can do

If you receive unsolicited e-mails, text messages or any other type of attempt to gather information that appears to be from either the IRS or an organization closely linked to the IRS (such as the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System, or EFTPS), you should forward it to phishing@irs.gov.

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