IRS and AG Eric Schmitt warn of COVID-19 financial scams


SPRINGFIELD, Mo- The IRS and the Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt have sent out separate warnings about scams that could be coming.

Eric Schmitt is warning about scams that could target CARES Act payments.

“While the money has not yet been disbursed to those who are eligible and won’t be for several weeks, federal agencies and the Missouri Attorney General’s Office are monitoring potential scams that may try to take advantage of those payments,” Schmitt said in a press release.

He says scammers are trying to steal personal information via phone calls, texts, or emails. Schmitt says the federal government would not contact you and ask you to sign up to receive your check through text, phone call, or email.

If you would like to report scams you can do so here.

The IRS is issuing similar warnings as well. The agency says taxpayers need to be on the lookout for a surge of calls and email phishing attempts about COVID-19.

“We urge people to take extra care during this period. The IRS isn’t going to call you asking to verify or provide your financial information so you can get an economic impact payment or your refund faster,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “That also applies to surprise emails that appear to be coming from the IRS. Remember, don’t open them or click on attachments or links.”

Here is a list of what scammer emails may look like:

  • Emphasize the words “Stimulus Check” or “Stimulus Payment.” The official term is economic impact payment.
  • Ask the taxpayer to sign over their economic impact payment check to them.
  • Ask by phone, email, text, or social media for verification of personal and/or banking information, saying that the information is needed to receive or speed up their economic impact payment.
  • Suggest that they can get a tax refund or economic impact payment faster by working on the taxpayer’s behalf. This scam could be conducted by social media or even in person.
  • Mail the taxpayer a bogus check, perhaps in an odd amount, then tell the taxpayer to call a number or verify information online to cash it.

Official IRS information about COVID-19 and economic impact payments can be found on the Coronavirus Tax Relief page. The page is updated quickly when new information is available.

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