Stimulus check scams have become quite popular nowadays and other such types have made their appearance too.
The scammers have managed to steal millions of dollars annually through cleverly designed efforts to fool the unaware. Since COVID-19, the IRS has sent out multiple warnings that scammers are more active than ever.
The IRS’ Recent Stimulus Check Scam Alert
Recently, the IRS warned consumers to beware of three types of scams.
If you’re waiting for a tax refund, watching for a stimulus check, or looking for a job, you’ll want to avoid these scams.
Remember that some of these offers sound really good. So good, that many people get pulled into them each year.
Nearly all scams have the same premise, which will help you identify them. The agency (real or supposed) needs more personal information from you. Known as phishing scams, these official-sounding phone calls, emails, letters or texts will try to dupe you into revealing information. That information can then be used to steal your hard-earned money.
A scammer’s communication will often contain a threat to get you to supply your personal information or make a payment of some kind. The scammer may threaten you by saying that you are facing court action or arrest. They may say there is a problem with your social security. They may indicate that your tax refund will be withheld, or a lien placed on your property, and you must pay today—over the phone. Or, they may say that they need more information to complete some form or tax matter.
Although IRS fraud scams come in different forms, two common techniques that scammers use are to leave a message on your voicemail or send an email. Either one will then ask you to either return the call or go to a website where you can supply the “necessary” or “missing” information.
A primary way to recognize these stimulus check scams is that the IRS will never contact you with a phone call, a voicemail, or an email. It will always use a letter to first contact you when there is a problem with your taxes. You may be directed to their secure website—Identity Verification Service—for validation.