Stay Alert! IRS-Related COVID Scams on the Rise

When the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (or CARES Act) was signed into law on March 27, 2020, approximately 160 million taxpayers received payments based on their 2018 or 2019 tax returns. Although there are no immediate plans for relief, another payment may be in Americans’ futures. Therefore, people need to be on the lookout for fraudulent activity concerning any Internal Revenue Service (IRS) payment.

The U.S. Treasury’s Inspector General for Tax Administration’s Office of Investigations anticipates people will plan fraudulent schemes to attempt to steal your sensitive information through the guise of Coronavirus relief payments.

Be on the lookout for social media or email interactions that claim to be from the IRS. Any communication that asks for your personal information in order to receive a payment is a scam. Do not open any links or attached files to these communications. Opening documents can lead to scammers installing programs on your phone or computer.

The United States Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration has given these specific rules to abide by when questioning a communication:

  1. The IRS will generally first contact people by mail, not by phone, about tax-related matters.
  1. If the IRS does contact you by telephone, they will not insist on any pre-payment using an iTunes card, gift card, prepaid debit card, money order, or wire transfer, in order to receive a payment.
  1. The IRS will also never request personal or financial information by e-mail, text, letter, or any social media. Source

If you need to report a Coronavirus-related complaint, click here to visit the U.S. Treasury’s reporting site.