Taxpayers: Beware Coronavirus Scams

Government officials have reported a surge of malicious attempts to defraud taxpayers in connection with the coronavirus (COVID-19) Economic Impact Payments. Scams may use calls, text messages, or emails to impersonate IRS agents offering financial relief. Be aware of these scams. Here is information provided by the IRS to help identify and report fraud:

Here’s what taxpayers should know:

  • The IRS will not call, email or text you to verify or request your financial, banking or personal information.
  • Watch out for websites and social media attempts to request money or personal information. The official website is IRS.gov.
  • Don’t open surprise emails that look like they’re coming from the IRS or click on attachments or links.
  • Taxpayers should not provide personal or financial information or engage with potential scammers online or over the phone.
  • Forward suspicious emails to phishing@irs.gov, then delete.
  • Go to IRS.gov for the most up-to-date information.

Here’s what people should know about the Economic Impact Payments:

  • The IRS will automatically deposit Economic Impact Payments into the bank account taxpayers provided on their 2019 or 2018 tax return for a direct deposit of their tax refund.
  • Those without a direct deposit account on file may be able to provide their banking information online through a new secure tool, Get My Payment.
  • Anyone who is eligible for an Economic Impact Payment and doesn’t provide direct deposit information will receive a payment mailed to the last address the IRS has on file.
  • The IRS does not charge a fee to issue the payment.

Scammers may:

  • Ask an individual to sign over their Economic Impact Payment check to them.
  • Ask for verification of personal or banking information.
  • Suggest that they can get someone tax refund or Economic Impact Payment faster by working on their behalf.
  • Issue a bogus check, often in an odd amount, then tell a person to call a number or verify information online in order to cash it.

Official IRS information about the COVID-19 pandemic and Economic Impact Payments can be found on the Coronavirus Tax Relief page on IRS.gov. The IRS encourages people to share this information with family and friends. Many people who normally don’t normally file a tax return may not realize they’re eligible for an Economic Impact Payment.


About the Author: David Raymon

David Raymon is an attorney in the Burns & Levinson’s Private Client and Trusts & Estates Groups. Dave is a JD/CPA, which has equipped him with a unique skill set that he uses to advise clients on tax and non-tax aspects of their estate planning, fiduciary duty actions, and other probate and trust-related controversies. Clients appreciate Dave’s perspective on legal issues, which often include a very personal component, and his guidance in evaluating options. He can be reached at draymon@burnslev.com or 617.345.3341.

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