Random Lengths News

IRS Criminal Investigat­ion Sees Surge in Scams Tied to Economic Impact Payments


The Internal Revenue Service received a record number of complaints about Economic Impact Payment scams in June and July 2021 not seen in more than a decade.

Phishing scams attempt to mirror legitimate IRS communicat­ions with the goal of convincing unsuspecti­ng taxpayers to enter personal informatio­n or submit a payment. This informatio­n is then exploited by scammers.

Recent scam reports include:

• Text messages stating that a taxpayer is eligible for a “stimulus payment” and they must click on a link to complete the necessary informatio­n to claim it.

• Phishing emails claiming the IRS has calculated a taxpayer’s “fiscal activity” and they are eligible for an Economic Impact Payment in a specific amount.

The IRS does not send unsolicite­d texts or emails. The IRS does not threaten individual­s with jail or lawsuits, nor does it demand tax payments on gift cards or via cryptocurr­ency.

Taxpayers should be on the lookout for grammatica­l, capitaliza­tion and spelling errors in emails and texts, which serve as fraud indicators. Taxpayers should also exercise caution when clicking shortened URLs, which can lead to fraudulent web pages.

Taxpayers who receive unsolicite­d emails or social media attempts to gather informatio­n that appear to be from either the IRS or an organizati­on closely linked to the IRS, should forward the message to phishing@irs.gov. Taxpayers are encouraged not to engage potential scammers online or on the phone.

Taxpayers can report fraud or theft of their Economic Impact Payments to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administra­tion or TIGTA. Reports can be made online at www. treasury.gov/tigta/contact. shtml

If you suspect you are a victim of identity theft as a result of a scam, visit the Taxpayer Guide to Identity Theft to know what steps to take at, www.irs.gov/newsroom/ taxpayer-guide-to-identity-theft

Official IRS informatio­n about COVID-19 and Economic Impact Payments can be found on the Coronaviru­s Tax Relief page, which is updated frequently.

Details: IRS.gov.

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