The Internal Revenue Service received a record number of complaints about economically impacting payment scams in June and July 2021, unprecedented in more than a decade.
“We will continue to be relentless in our mission to dismantle these types of illicit scams and bring to justice the criminals who orchestrate them,” said the Acting Special Agent in charge of the Charlotte field office, IRS Criminal Investigation. .
Phishing scams attempt to replicate legitimate IRS communications in an attempt to convince unsuspecting taxpayers to enter personal information or submit a payment. This information is then exploited by crooks.
Recent scam reports include:
- SMS indicating that a taxpayer is eligible for a “stimulus payment” and that he must click on a link to complete the information necessary to claim it.
- Phishing emails claiming that the IRS has calculated a taxpayer’s “tax activity” and that they are eligible for an Economic Impact Payment of a specific amount.
While criminals are constantly changing their tactics, taxpayers can help protect themselves by acting as a first line of defense. The best way to avoid being scammed is to know how the IRS communicates with taxpayers.
- The IRS does not send unsolicited text messages or emails.
- The IRS does not threaten individuals with jail or legal action, nor does it require payment of taxes on gift cards or via cryptocurrency.
Taxpayers should be on the lookout for grammar, capitalization and spelling errors in emails and texts, which serve as indicators of fraud.
Taxpayers should also exercise caution when clicking on shortened URLs, which can lead to fraudulent web pages.
Taxpayers who receive unsolicited emails or social media attempts to gather information that appears to come from the IRS or an organization closely related to the IRS should forward the message to [email protected]
Taxpayers are encouraged not to hire potential fraudsters online or over the phone.
Taxpayers can report fraud or theft of their economic impact payments to the Inspector General of the Treasury for Tax Administration (TIGTA). Reports can be made online at TIPS.TIGTA.GOV.
If you think you have become a victim of identity theft as a result of a scam, consult the Taxpayer’s Guide to Identity Theft for what to do next.
To learn more about COVID-19 scams and other financial schemes, visit IRS.gov. Official IRS information on COVID-19 and Economic Impact Payments can be found on the Coronavirus Tax Relief page, which is updated frequently.