IRS warns of coronavirus phishing scams

Taxpayers: watch out for scams
FreeImages.com/Matt Aiello

WASHINGTON — Today, the Internal Revenue Service warned taxpayers to be on alert for coronavirus related phishing phone calls and emails.

Additionally, the IRS reports that the scams mainly target retirees.

“We urge people to take extra care during this period. The IRS isn’t going to call you asking to verify or provide your financial information so you can get an economic impact payment or your refund faster,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig in a release. “That also applies to surprise emails that appear to be coming from the IRS. Remember, don’t open them or click on attachments or links. Go to IRS.gov for the most up-to-date information.”

The IRS offers these signs for identifying potential scams:

  • Emphasize the words “Stimulus Check” or “Stimulus Payment.” The official term is economic impact payment.
  • Ask the taxpayer 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.

Any suspicious emails or perceived phishing attempt should be forwarded to phishing@irs.gov.