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IRS urges Virginia taxpayers to 'stay vigilant' about COVID-19 scams

Deadline extended to file claims through Western Union scam settlement
Posted at 5:30 PM, Jan 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-17 17:36:11-05

WASHINGTON DC — The Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CI) is warning Virginia taxpayers about a new wave of COVID-19-related scams amid the second round of stimulus checks being delivered.

IRS-CI says in the past several months they have has seen a variety of Economic Impact Payment (EIP) scams and other financial schemes designed to steal money and personal information from taxpayers. IRS officials say scammers are taking advantage of the second round of stimulus checks.

“IRS-CI wants to make sure all Virginians are aware of potential scams, in hopes of preventing them from being victimized,” said Special Agent in Charge Kelly R. Jackson. “Please stay vigilant of potential scammers looking to steal your identity and your money.”

IRS officials say some 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 key words 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)
  • 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)
  • Fake donation requests for individuals, groups and areas heavily affected by the disease
  • Bogus opportunities to invest in companies developing COVID-19 vaccines while promising that the “company” will dramatically increase in value as a result

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.

Taxpayers can also report fraud or theft of their Economic Impact Payments to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) online at TIPS.TIGTA.GOV.

Taxpayers who receive unsolicited emails or social media attempts, should forward the message to phishing@irs.gov.