The IRS has been urging taxpayers to be aware of calls and emails that might lead victims to give up their personal information to cyberthieves.
IRS Commissioner, Chuck Rettig, has been urging people to take more care during this time. He reminds taxpayers that the IRS won’t ever call to verify or collect financial information in order for you to get your refund faster. The IRS will also never email taxpayers asking for this information. Fraudulent text messages are also on the rise.
Cybercriminals have always taken advantage of times of trouble, and now that we are in the throes of coronavirus, they are continuing this. While people are waiting to get their stimulus payments and tax refunds, it is extremely important to remain vigilant.
Don’t Fall for These Scams
The IRS has definitely seen many more phishing schemes. In most cases, the IRS deposits these payments directly into the bank accounts of the taxpayer. Those who have previously filed, but have not provided direct deposit information, must provide this on the IRS.gov website. If they don’t do that, the IRS will mail a paper check to the taxpayer.
It is also important to mention that the IRS has reminded those who have retired and don’t have to file a tax return that they don’t have to do anything in order to receive their stimulus check. Cybercriminals tend to focus on seniors, and they may try to reach out by mail, phone, or email and ask for information such as Social Security numbers, bank account numbers or other identifying info. The IRS will not contact these people, so don’t give any info if you are in this group.
Other Information from the IRS
The IRS is also reminding taxpayers that there are signs that something is a scam. Here are some of them:
- The official term of the payment is “economic impact payment.” If you see terms like “Stimulus Payment” or “Stimulus Check, it’s probably a scam.
- It is a scam if someone asks you to sign over your check to them.
- It’s a scam if they ask you to verify your personal or financial information via phone, text, social media, mail, or email.
- If they suggest that you can get your money faster by supplying information, it is a scam.
- If you get a check in the mail that seems a bit off, and then you are asked to verify information online, it is a scam.
Reporting These Scams
If you believe that you might be a target or victim of a scam like this, you should do your best to report it. If you get an email, for instance, you should forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is also recommended that you do not engage with potential scammers on the phone or internet. There are guidelines on how to deal with this on the IRS.gov website.
Official information about the IRS and how it is dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic is also available online at the Coronavirus Tax Relief page online.
ROBERT SICILIANO CSP, is a #1 Best Selling Amazon author, CEO of CreditParent.com, the architect of the CSI Protection certification; a Cyber Social and Identity and Personal Protection security awareness training program and the home security expert for Porch.com