IRS warns of economic impact payment scams during coronavirus outbreak

Published: Apr. 5, 2020 at 3:26 PM EDT
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Virginians are asked to be on their guard following the recently-approved economic impact payments.

According to a statement from State Police, the Virginia

Fraud Task Force and the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations (IRS-CI), scammers may try and have people sign over checks from those who do not get direct deposit in order to have you "verify" filing eligibility.

In a few weeks, coronavirus economic impact payments will be delivered. Most Americans, according to State Police, will be receiving these sums via direct deposit, but those without a bank who get tax refunds as a paper check will receive theirs through the mail.

Scammers may try to steal this money and use any information they receive to file false tax returns and conduct an identity theft plan.

The following tips are to be remembered:

-The IRS will deposit your payment into the direct deposit account you previously provided on your tax return (or, in the alternative, send you a paper check).

-The IRS will NOT call and ask you to verify your payment details. Do NOT give your bank account, debit account or PayPal account information to anyone - even if someone claims it’s necessary to get your check. It’s a scam.

-If you receive a call, do NOT engage with scammers, even if you want to tell them that you know it’s a scam. Just hang up.

-If you receive texts or emails claiming that you can get your money faster by sending personal identifying information or clicking on links, delete these texts and emails. Do NOT click on any links in those texts or emails.

-Reports are swirling about bogus checks. If you receive a “check” in the mail now, it’s a scam. It will take the Treasury a few more weeks to mail out the COVID-19 economic impact payments. If you receive a “check” for an odd amount (especially one with cents), or a check that requires you to verify the check online or by calling a number, it’s a scam.

-Remember, the federal government will not ask you to pay anything up front to get a legitimate benefit. No fees. No charges. Anyone who asks for an up-front payment for a promised benefit is a scammer.

According to U.S. Attorney Terwilliger, "We are likely to see an uptick in government check scams tied to coronavirus-relief, including advanced-fee schemes promising government relief checks, student loan relief and adjustments in other government benefits, such as increased social security payments. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is."

Copyright 2020 WDBJ7. All rights reserved.

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