IRS warns of scams targeting COVID-19 stimulus payments

Posted at 12:14 PM, Apr 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-18 15:46:59-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The IRS Criminal Investigation Unit and U.S. Attorney's Office want taxpayers to be on the look-out for scammers looking to steal COVID-19 stimulus relief checks.

“We are living in unprecedented times and each one of us is struggling one way or another,” said Jonathan Larsen, Special Agent in charge of the IRS-CI New York Field Office. “In the coming weeks, the IRS will be issuing economic impact payments meant for hardworking Americans in a time of need and uncertainty. However, ruthless criminals are already preying on people’s fear during this pandemic, orchestrating various schemes to steal your money. Anyone expecting to receive a COVID-19 economic impact payment is at risk and we urge you to protect yourself.”

Taxpayers should be aware that the IRS will not:

• Call and ask you to verify your payment details. Do not give out your bank account, debit card or PayPal account information. If you receive an unsolicited call, simply hang up.

• Text, email or contact you via social media to say that you can get your money faster by sending personal information. Don’t open attachments or click on links.

• Mail or deposit a check that requires you to verify the check online or by calling a number. Reports are emerging about bogus checks. If you receive a “check” in the mail now, it’s a fraud. It will take about three weeks for the distribution of checks to begin. If you receive a “check” for an odd amount (especially one with cents), or a check that requires that you verify the check online or by calling a number, it’s a scam.