The Internal Revenue Service informed taxpayers to be wary of fraudulent calls and phishing attempts. IRS revealed that in the months of June and July the number of reported scams for stimulus check attempts reached an all-time high.
These attempts can result in tax-related fraud and identity theft.
Even though taxpayers have received multiple rounds of Economic Impact Payments, they saw phishing scams surge this summer, said Jim Lee, the head of the IRS’s Criminal Investigation Division, in a news release on Tuesday.
The Stimulus Check Scams: People Must Be Aware
IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig informed that IRS does not call to verify or ask individuals to provide financial information to expedite stimulus checks or refunds. Similarly, they do not send out surprise emails with attachments. The IRS does not threaten individuals with jail or lawsuits, nor does it demand tax payments on gift cards or via cryptocurrency.
Taxpayers should lookout for grammatical, capitalization, and spelling errors in emails and texts, which serve as fraud indicators. Taxpayers should be cautious when clicking shortened URLs, which can lead to fraudulent web pages.
The increase in reported EIP scams is upsetting since this payment is meant to aid those who are unable to provide for themselves due to the pandemic.
Taxpayers who believe they are the victim of fraud or theft as it relates to their economic impact payment should report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.
Scams looking to defraud unsuspecting taxpayers out of their stimulus checks have been a problem since the IRS first began depositing the first of three federal coronavirus relief payments back in April 2020. The same month, spam emails tied to the pandemic had increased by 6,000%, revealed a report from IBM.
The third economic impact payment began going out in March as part of the federal $1.9 trillion COVID-19 aid package. Stimulus checks are still being issued on an ongoing basis, according to the IRS.