COLUMBUS (WCMH) — As the second round of Economic Impact Payments makes its way to Ohio taxpayers, the Internal Revenue Service is warning against a new wave of scams.
Although the scams may be new, the goal remains the same: to separate taxpayers from their money and possibly their identities.
“Criminals have used the Economic Impact Payments and the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to steal from and profit off of victims,” said Bryant Jackson, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, Cincinnati Field Office. “Being aware of some of the scams can help you protect yourself from falling victim to fraud.”
These are some of the more common scams:
- Text messages asking taxpayers to disclose bank account information under the guise of receiving the $1,200 Economic Impact Payments.
- Phishing schemes using email, letters and social media messages with key words such as “Coronavirus,” “COVID-19,” and “stimulus” in varying ways. These communications are blasted to large numbers of people and aim to access personally identifying information and financial account information (including account numbers and passwords).
- The organized and unofficial sale of fake at-home COVID-19 test kits (as well as offers to sell fake cures, vaccines, pills, and professional medical advice regarding unproven COVID-19 treatments).
- Fake donation requests for individuals, groups and areas heavily affected by the
- Bogus opportunities to invest in companies developing COVID-19 vaccines while promising that the “company” will dramatically increase in value as a result.
According to the IRS, they do not send unsolicited texts or emails, and do not call people with threats of jail or lawsuits, nor does it demand tax payments on gift cards.
The IRS asks anyone who receives unsolicited texts, emails, or social media regarding their stimulus check to forward the message to firstname.lastname@example.org.