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Phishing scams target stimulus checks

How to get your stimulus check faster
Posted at 6:41 PM, Apr 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-16 18:46:16-04

ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- The Virginia Coronavirus Fraud Task Force is warning residents of stimulus check scams targeting those who are expecting to receive a paper check in the mail.

G. Zachary Terwilliger, co-leader of the task force and U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, says they have reports of criminals attempting to use phishing techniques, including text messages, emails, and letters delivered through the mail, to steal personal information or swindle residents out of their checks.

“Fraudsters are chomping at the bit to steal your money,” said Terwilliger. “Please be vigilant. Simply put: Hang up on robocalls, do not provide your personal identifying information to anyone, and always confirm you are accessing legitimate links from IRS.gov.”

Individuals without direct deposit of their tax refunds will have to wait for a paper check in the mail, which could take as long as three months to arrive, according to the IRS.

“These payments do not need to be confirmed, authorized, or activated, and you should assume that any unsolicited calls or emails from individuals or entities who claim to be associated with the IRS are fraudulent,” Thomas T. Cullen, co-leader of the task force and U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Virginia.

Officials say the criminals prey on vulnerable taxpayers who are unaware of how the payments will reach them and IRS-Criminal Investigation is prioritizing these types of investigations to help protect taxpayers and the tax system.

Recently, IRS launched two new tools: “Non-Filers: Enter Your Payment Info Here” allows quick registration for Economic Impact Payments for those who don’t normally file a tax return and, “Get My Payment” which enables taxpayers to check the status of their payment, including the date their payment is scheduled to be deposited into their bank account or mailed to them.

Both tools can be found here.

If you think you are a victim of a scam or attempted fraud involving COVID-19, contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via email at disaster@leo.gov.