ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The Virginia Coronavirus Fraud Task Force issued a warning to the public to beware of financial scams regarding stimulus checks distributed from the IRS.
“Fraudsters are chomping at the bit to steal your money,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, co-leader of the task force and U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “We have reports of criminals attempting to use various phishing techniques, including text messages, emails, and letters delivered through the mail, all attempting to steal your personal information or swindle you out of your economic impact payment. Please be vigilant. Simply put: Hang up on robocalls, do not provide your personal identifying information to anyone, and always confirm you are accessing legitimate links from IRS.gov.”
For most Americans, stimulus checks will be directly deposited into their bank account. For people who do not utilize direct deposit, and other groups who have traditionally received tax refunds via paper check, they will receive their economic impact payment as a hard check.
“Americans will receive their economic-impact payments in one of two ways: through the mail or by direct deposit into their bank accounts,” said Thomas T. Cullen, co-leader of the task force and U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Virginia. “These payments do not need to be confirmed, authorized, or activated, and you should assume that any unsolicited calls or emails from individuals or entities who claim to be associated with the IRS are fraudulent.”
IRS Criminal Investigation is working to combat scam artists trying to exploit economic impact payments and other provisions related to COVID-19.
The IRS says so far, scammers have seen look to prey on vulnerable taxpayers who are unaware of how the payments will reach them.
According to the task force, there has been an increase in phishing schemes using keywords such as “corona virus”, “COVID-19”, and “stimulus” in different ways.
The Department of Justice says they are detecting, investigating, and prosecuting wrongdoing related to the COVID-19 pandemic.