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Beware of coronavirus economic impact payment scams

There is never downtime when it comes to being aware of potential scams. Not even during this global pandemic. In fact, criminals like seizing opportunities when people are most vulnerable. The distribution of the economic impact payment is one of these opportunities.

The IRS posted the following warning:

“We urge people to take extra care during this period. 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,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “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.

Economic impact payments began being deposited last week in cases where direct deposit information was on file. For more information, see the IRS’s Get My Payment web page.

The paper checks will be distributed in the coming weeks. Scammers will capitalize on this opportunity to deploy more strategies to get your personal information and money. Checks haven’t been mailed yet. So if you have received a check, it is a scam.  Also, if you expect to receive the payment through direct deposit and receive a check, it is a scam.

The IRS reminds taxpayers 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.
  • Suggest that they can get a tax refund or economic impact payment faster by working on the taxpayer’s behalf. This scam could 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 to cash it.

See irs.gov/coronavirus for trusted information and updates about IRS payments.