With the recently enacted Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), many citizens will be eligible to receive an economic impact payment from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). To learn more about economic impact payments, read our recent article on Coronavirus Resources for Unemployment and Small Businesses.
These payments provide critical relief for many Americans, as the coronavirus pandemic has caused significant economic disruption and put many out of work. In these uncertain times, the IRS is urging taxpayers to be cautious and keep an eye out for a potential rise in phishing scams.
The Department of the Treasury has developed a web-based portal for individuals to check on the status of their relief benefits and provide their banking information to the IRS in order to receive payments via direct deposit. It is important to be mindful of scammers posing as government entities who may want access to your personal information to obtain your economic impact payment. The IRS has issued guidance on this matter, and Benefits.gov encourages those eligible to receive a check to take precautions in ensuring that they don’t fall into the wrong hands. To protect this vital resource during the coming weeks, to keep the following in mind:
Do not provide financial information to anyone claiming to be working for the IRS or closely associated with the IRS in order to receive your economic impact payment. The IRS will not ask you to provide this information.
Do not open any emails claiming to be from the IRS or click on attachments or links.
Be mindful that text messages, websites, and social media can also be used by criminals to commit fraud.
If you receive unsolicited phone calls, emails, text messages or social media attempts to gather information that appears to be from either the IRS or an organization closely linked to the IRS, such as the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), please forward it to email@example.com. You should not engage with potential scammers online or on the phone. Learn more about reporting suspected scams by going to the Report Phishing and Online Scams page on IRS.gov.
For all official information regarding the economic impact payments, please refer to the IRS website. To read more about protecting yourself from scams, read the Benefits.gov article on being savvy about phone scams.