As if a global pandemic and nerve-wrecking election wasn’t enough, a new scam is in town that the tax industry and the IRS are warning all taxpayers about. Criminals are trying to trick “eligible” people into giving out their bank information, not to help a Nigerian prince this time, but to receive an economic impact payment/stimulus check.
The text message used to fool honest taxpayers reads as follows:
“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 …”
Accompanying this text is a link to a website that impersonates the IRS “Get My Payment” webpage. The page asks its victims to enter their personal and bank account details, just like one would on a real IRS page, in order to receive the stimulus check/direct deposit. This gives the scammers access to your private information and the opportunity to assume your identity or worse.
What should you do if you receive this text?
Don’t do ANYTHING it asks you to do. Don’t click the link, and don’t provide your personal information. The IRS never sends texts or emails asking for your bank details for this very reason - they choose snail mail because it is much more reliable with its stamps and seals, reducing the risk of fraudsters impersonating the department.
Further, the IRS is asking all who receive the text to take a screenshot of the message and email it to email@example.com. In your email, remember to include the following:
The date, time and timezone that you received the text
The number they texted you from
Your phone number.
Using this data, you’ll be helping the government track and catch the scammers and prevent this from happening to more people (especially the elderly, disabled, and those who do not have a good grasp of federal department communications).
The sad reality is that some people are using times of uncertainty and distress to trick taxpayers out of their money and identities. When in doubt, assume texts like these are scams and DO NOT RESPOND. To confirm, get in touch with either state or federal authorities immediately, using their official contact information listed on their respective websites.
Landmark Tax is your one-stop destination for all your tax-related questions. With seasoned tax and financial planning experts, you can rest assured you’re in good hands. Visit LandmarkTaxServices.com to understand how they can help you in getting back the money the government owes you, fixing your financial situation amidst the current crisis, and steer you clear of fraudsters.