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Government aid in connection with coronavirus: Americans are warned about fraud

The US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) urged taxpayers to take a closer look, as the number of attempted phishing and other types of fraud has increased due to coronavirus. In particular, fraudsters have often begun to pretend to be the government agencies that are responsible for sending financial assistance in connection with the coronavirus. This was reported on the official website. IRS.

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“We urge people to take extra care during this period. The IRS is not going to call you asking you to confirm or provide your financial information so that you can get a payment from the government faster in connection with the coronavirus crisis, said IRS spokesman Chuck Rettig. - This also applies to unexpected emails that claim to come from the IRS. Remember, do not open them or click on attachments or links. Please visit IRS.gov for the latest information. "

Taxpayers should be careful not only with emails, but also with text messages, websites and social media posts that ask for money or personal information.

“Criminals use every opportunity to commit fraud to unsuspecting victims, especially when people are vulnerable or in need,” said Don Fort, head of the IRS's criminal investigation department. - While you are waiting for information about payments from the government, criminals are doing their best to deceive you. The IRS Criminal Investigation Unit is working hard to find these scammers and arrest them, but at the same time, we ask people to be vigilant. "

How to avoid becoming a victim of fraudsters

The IRS and its Criminal Investigation Division have witnessed a wave of new and developing phishing schemes against taxpayers. In most cases, payments from the government will go to direct deposit accounts previously provided by the Americans in tax returns. Those taxpayers who filed returns without specifying their bank accounts will be able to provide their banking information online on a special government portal, which is still under development and will be launched in mid-April. If the IRS does not have information about the taxpayer’s direct account, then he will send federal assistance in connection with the coronavirus in the form of a check to the address indicated in the taxpayer’s latest tax return. You should not share your banking information with others who allegedly enter it into the IRS database for you.

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The IRS also reminds retirees, who normally do not have to file tax returns, that no action is required on their part to receive the $ 1200 payment. Elderly people should be especially careful during this period. The IRS reminds retirees, including SSA-1099 and RRB-1099 recipients, that no one in the agency will contact them by phone, email, mail, or in person asking for any information to make a payment from the government. The IRS will automatically send $ 1200 to retirees - no additional action or information is required to obtain it.

The IRS reminds taxpayers that scammers can:

  • use the words Stimulus Check or Stimulus Payment. In this case, the official term for a government payment is economic impact payment;
  • ask the taxpayer to forward the check from the government to another person (under different pretexts);
  • ask by phone, e-mail, SMS or social networks to verify personal or banking information, saying that this information is necessary to receive or expedite the receipt of money from the government;
  • reassure the victim that someone else can get a tax refund or payment from the government faster because he is working with a taxpayer. This scam can be conducted on social networks or even in person;
  • send a fake check to the taxpayer, possibly for a large amount, then say that the taxpayer needs to call some number or indicate his information on some website in order to cash it.
Reporting Coronavirus-related or Other Phishing Attempts

Those who received emails, SMS, messages on social networks or recorded other attempts by scammers to steal his personal data, acting as IRS or the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), should forward all information from scammers to phishing@irs.gov.

Taxpayers are advised not to get in touch with scammers online or by phone. Learn more about reporting potential scams at Report Phishing and Online Fraud at IRS.gov.

Official IRS Information on pandemic payments can be found on the site IRS.gov. The page refreshes when new information appears.

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