Government: Look out for COVID-19 impact payment scams

IRS issues alert for new COVID-19 scams
Posted at 12:46 PM, Apr 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-03 12:20:57-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif — The Federal Government is warning California taxpayers about potential COVID-19 impact payment scams.

“At a time when many Americans are struggling during this national emergency, others are plotting ways to get between the taxpayers in need and the payments that have been designed to help them," U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott said in a press release.

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California and the Internal Revenue Service offer these tips for fighting scammers:

· The IRS will deposit your check into the direct deposit account you previously provided on your tax return. If you usually receive tax refunds through a paper check, IRS will send you a paper check.

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

· If you receive a call, don’t engage or talk with scammers or thieves, even if you want to tell them that you know it’s a scam, or you think that you can beat them. Just hang up.

· If you receive texts or emails claiming that you can get your money faster by sending personal information or clicking on links, delete them. Do not click on any links in those texts or emails.

· Reports are also swirling about bogus checks. If you have already received or receive a check in the mail now, it’s fraud — it will take the Treasury a few weeks to mail checks out. If you receive a check for an odd amount (especially one with cents), or a check that requires that you verify the check online or by calling a number, it’s fraud.

· If you receive a request or instructions to sign over check, this is a scam.

If you think you've been a victim of fraud or a scam, call the National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721.