IRS warns Arizona taxpayers of new COVID-19 stimulus scams

IRS warns Arizona taxpayers of new COVID-19 stimulus scams
This year, Kentucky consumers have lost over $1 million to COVID-19 fraud, and Americans have reported more than 194,000 cases of COVID-19 fraud and lost more than $134 million according to a new study by The Ascent. (Source: Vlada Karpovich)

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - If you are expecting another stimulus check, the Internal Revenue Service is warning of potential scams.

According to a news release, Arizona taxpayers are at risk for a new wave of COVID-19-related scams as the agency delivers the second round of Economic Impact Payments.

In the last several months, the IRS says they have seen a variety of scams and other financial schemes designed to steal money and personal information from taxpayers. Scammers are using both the stimulus payments along with the approaching filing season to take advantage of people.

“IRS-CI is collaborating with its civil and law enforcement partners to quickly identify, investigate and prosecute anyone that attempts to defraud the COVID-19 relief program or fraudulently requests Economic Impact Payments,” stated IRS-Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Ismael Nevarez Jr. “Residents of Arizona are asked to report any suspected fraud to the National Center for Disaster Fraud.”

The IRS says several common COVID-19 scams include:

  • Text messages asking taxpayers to disclose bank account information under the guise of receiving the $1,200 Economic Impact Payments
  • Phishing schemes using email, letters, and social media messages with keywords such as “Coronavirus,” “COVID-19,” and “stimulus” in varying ways. These communications are blasted to large numbers of people and aim to access personally-identifying information and financial account information (including account numbers and passwords
  • Fake donation requests for individuals, groups, and areas heavily affected by the disease
  • The organized and unofficial sale of fake at-home COVID-19 test kits (as well as offers to sell fake cures, vaccines, pills,and professional medical advice regarding unproven COVID-19 treatments)

Taxpayers can help protect themselves by acting as the first line of defense. Know that the IRS will not send unsolicited texts or emails, or call people with threats of jail or lawsuits, nor does it demand tax payments on gift cards.

COVID-19 scams should be reported to the National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) Hotline at 1-866-720-5721 or submitted through the NCDF Web Complaint Form.

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