Watch out for the new wave of COVID-19 scams

It’s tax season in the US: always prime time for criminals to get busy, be it phishing via email or robocalls or by grabbing checks out of unlocked mailboxes from people who aren’t getting refunds via direct deposit.

This year, the IRS is seeing the familiar, seasonal rise in tax-related attacks, but like every other genre of e-crime we’ve seen in recent weeks, it’s now coming with a COVID-19 twist.

These things scream “SCAM!”, the IRS warns:

  • When somebody’s emphasizing the words “Stimulus Check” or “Stimulus Payment.” The official term is economic impact payment.
  • When somebody asks you to sign over your economic impact payment check to them.
  • When somebody asks – be it 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.
  • When somebody says they can get a tax refund or economic impact payment faster by working on the taxpayer’s behalf. The IRS says that scam could be conducted by social media or even in person.
  • When a scammer sends a bogus check, perhaps in an odd amount, then tells the taxpayer to call a number or verify information online in order to cash it.


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