T’is The Holiday Scam Season And A Covid-19 Scam Tops The List
Be very careful as we move deeper into the holiday season. On top of the pandemic, unemployment, and economic insecurity, the last thing anyone needs is to be scammed out of important financial information by scammers. These unscrupulous criminals use every disaster and tragedy to bilk unsuspecting people out of their information and money.
On November 4th, the IRS published a warning about a text scam using COVID-19 and the Economic Impact Payments. The scam tricks people into disclosing their bank information telling them they are going to receive the $1,200 Economic Impact Payment. According to the IRS, “Criminals are relentlessly using COVID-19 and Economic Impact Payments as cover to try to trick taxpayers out of their money or identities. This scam is a new twist on those we’ve been seeing much of this year. We urge people to remain alert to these types of scams.” https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/security-summit-partners-warn-taxpayers-of-new-covid-related-text-scam
“You Have Received A Direct Deposit Of $1200”
The scammers know how to lure people into their webs. According to the IRS, the specific text message states: “You have received a direct deposit of $1,200 from COVID-19 TREAS FUND. Further action is required to accept this payment into your account. Continue here to accept this payment …” The text includes a link to a fake phishing web address. This fake phishing URL, which appears to come from a state agency or relief organization, takes recipients to a fraudulent website that impersonates the IRS.gov Get My Payment website. Individuals who visit the fraudulent website and then enter their personal and financial account information will have their information collected by these scammers.
The IRS asks that, “People who receive this text scam should take a screen shot of the text message that they received and then include the screenshot in an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the following information:
- Date/Time/Time zone that they received the text message
- The number that appeared on their Caller ID
- The number that received the text message
Those Who Have Not Yet Received Their Payment Are Most Vulnerable
There are many people who have still not received their Economic Impact Payment, and these people are the most vulnerable to being lured into this type of scam. Also, there has been talk about a second payment, though that second payment has not yet been agreed to. The fact is the scammers know this and they know that people are easily fooled by the promise of money especially when times are tough. It’s imperative that everyone be aware that the IRS does not send unsolicited texts or emails. The IRS also does not call people with threats of jail or lawsuits, nor does it demand payments for overdue taxes be made on gift cards. Please stay alert and get through the remainder of this unprecedented challenging year without being scammed.
If You’ve Not Filed Taxes And Want To Be Eligible For Second Stimulus Payment
If there is another stimulus payment approved by Congress, it will only go to those people who have filed their taxes. If you have not filed in a few years, you could be eligible by filing now. If you would like to make sure you will be receiving the next stimulus payment, give us a call. We can help you get on the right side of the IRS if you owe but can’t pay your taxes. At least you can file and make the most of this time when the IRS is being more lenient due to the pandemic.