ST. LOUIS, Mo. — Special agent Karl Stiften of the St. Louis Field Office of IRS Criminal Investigation has announced the public needs to be cautious of possible scammers during the economic impact of COVID-19.
“The existence of a deadly national pandemic will not stop criminals seeking to capitalize on the fears and difficulties faced by the public as they try to line their own pockets by stealing your money or your personal information,” Sitiften said.
According to the press release, if you’re recieving a COVID-19 economic impact payment from the government you’re at risk.
Most Americans will get the check directly deposited into their bank accounts. As for unbanked retirees and other groups who usually receive their tax refunds via paper check, they will receive their economic impact payment the same way.
Be aware that scammers could try to have you sign over your check or verify your information to receive your money and use your information for future to file false tax returns.
Here are some tips to avoid being scammed, according to Special agent Stiften:
- Every check will be a direct deposit by the IRS that was provided in the tax returns. (or alternative, send a paper check)
- IRS will not call and ask for payment details. Do not give out any personal bank account information. Even if someone insists (It is a scam).
- If you know it is a scam, do not engage with scammers or thieves. Just hang up.
- Do not click links in text or emails claiming that you can get the money fast by sending information, delete them.
- Reports are also risky. If a check is received with an odd amount with cents, it is fraud especially stating to call or go online to verify.
Pass the word and prevent becoming the victim.