Financial Wellness

IRS Warns on Coronavirus-Related Scams

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) urges taxpayers to be on the lookout for new and evolving scam calls and email phishing schemes during the coronavirus pandemic. Remember, the IRS will not reach out to you by phone, email, mail or in-person to ask you to verify or provide your financial information to get an economic impact payment or refund faster.

Watch out for scams related to Economic Impact Payments

The IRS will not call you asking for any kind of information to complete their economic impact payment, also sometimes referred to as rebates or stimulus payments.

In most cases, the IRS will deposit economic impact payments into the direct deposit account taxpayers previously provided on tax returns. Taxpayers who have previously filed but not provided direct deposit information to the IRS may provide their direct deposit information online to a secure portal on the IRS website. If the IRS does not have a taxpayer's direct deposit information, a check will be mailed to the address on file. Taxpayers should not provide their direct deposit or other banking information for others to input on their behalf into the secure portal.

Visit the 'Coronavirus Tax Relief' page on the IRS website for information about the COVID-19 pandemic and economic impact payments. The page is updated when new information is available.

Surge of calls and email phishing attempts

Beware of surprise emails that appear to be coming from the IRS. Remember, do not open them or click on attachments or links. And, you should watch out not only for emails, but also text messages, websites and social media attempts that request money or personal information.

The IRS will not send unsolicited electronic communications asking people to open attachments, visit a website or share personal or financial information.

Remain vigilant

Scammers may:

  • Emphasize the words "Stimulus Check" or "Stimulus Payment." The official term is economic impact payment.
  • Ask you 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 in order to cash it.

Suspect a scam call or phishing attempt?

Do not engage potential scammers online or on the phone. If you receive unsolicited emails, text messages or social media attempts to gather information that appear to be from either the IRS or organizations closely linked to the IRS, you can report it to the IRS. Visit the IRS website for information about how to Report Phishing and Online Scams.

Source: Internal Revenue Service, IR-2020-64, April 2, 2020