IRS Warns Against COVID-19 Fraud and Other Financial Schemes
The Internal Revenue Service reminds taxpayers to guard against tax fraud and other related financial scams related to COVID-19. Criminals seize every opportunity to exploit bad situations, and this pandemic is no exception.
In the last few months, the IRS has seen a variety of Economic Impact Payment (EIP) scams and other financial schemes looking to take advantage of unsuspecting taxpayers. Criminals use EIP as cover to steal personal information and money. The IRS has also seen an increase in phishing schemes, which are unsolicited emails or social media attempts that appear to be from the IRS, in an attempt for the scammer to gather personally identifying information, account numbers, or passwords.
There are also scams related to the organized selling of fake at-home test kits, offers to sell fake cures, vaccines, pills and advice on unproven treatments. Other scams purport to sell large quantities of medical supplies through the creation of fake shops, websites, social media accounts and email addresses where the criminal fails to deliver promised supplies after receiving funds.
Some scammers set up fake charities to solicit donations. Other scammers offer “opportunities” to invest early in companies working on a vaccine for the disease, promising that the “company” will dramatically increase in value as a result.
Coronavirus-related scams should be reported to the National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) at 1-866-720-5721 or submitted through the NCDF Web Complaint Form (https://www.justice.gov/disast…/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form). The NCDF is a national coordinating agency within the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division dedicated to improving the detection, prevention, investigation and prosecution of criminal conduct related to natural and man-made disasters and other emergencies.
Taxpayers can also report fraud or theft of their Economic Impact Payments to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) (https://www.treasury.gov/tigta/). Also, taxpayers can report phishing attempts to the IRS at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Taxpayers are encouraged not to engage potential scammers online or on the phone, even if you're wise to the ploy. If nothing else, you'll let the scammer know that your email address or phone number is valid. Scammers can then sell that information to other scammers.