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Beware of New Text Scam Related to Stimulus Payments

Article Highlights:

  • New Clever Scammer Scheme

  • Uses Economic Impact Payments as Bait

  • The Text Message

  • How to Report a Scam

  • How to Correctly Provide Information to Claim a Payment

The IRS has warned taxpayers of a clever scheme by internet scammers to dupe taxpayers into revealing their bank account information under the guise of receiving the $1,200 Economic Impact Payment (EIP) that Congress authorized last Spring.

Criminals are relentlessly using COVID-19 and Economic Impact Payments as cover to try to trick taxpayers out of their money or identities. This new scam is a twist on those the IRS has been seeing much of this year, and the IRS urges people to remain alert to these types of scams.

The current scam is a text message that reads: You have received a direct deposit of $1,200 from COVID-19 TREAS FUND. Further action is required to accept this payment into your account. Continue here to accept this payment ...” The text includes a link to a fake phishing web address.

This fake phishing URL, which appears to come from a state agency or relief organization, takes recipients to a fraudulent website that impersonates the IRS.gov Get My Payment website. Individuals who visit the fraudulent website and then enter their personal and financial account information will have their information collected by these scammers.

The IRS is asking people that receive this text scam not to go to the fake website, not to enter their financial information and to take a screen shot of the text message that they received and then include the screenshot in an email to phishing@irs.gov with the following information:

  • Date/Time/Time zone that they received the text message

  • The number that appeared on their Caller ID

  • The number that received the text message

Be aware the IRS does not send unsolicited texts or emails. The IRS does not call people with threats of jail or lawsuits, nor does it demand tax payments on gift cards. If you encounter any such communication, you can forward it to phishing@irs.gov.

If you believe you are eligible for the EIP and have not already received it, you can go directly to IRS.gov and search for Get My Payment. People who do not have a filing requirement but who are eligible for an EIP can use the Get My Payment non-filers tool until Nov. 21 to claim their payment.

Payments not received in advance can be claimed when you file your 2020 tax return next year.

If you have questions about a tax- or financial-related suspicious text or email, please call this office before taking action. Allowing scammers to get your bank account information can cost you money and create a lot misery. Be careful.

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