Criminals are now taking advantage of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in order to commit fraud. These criminals are sending phishing emails that claim to come from people dealing with COVID-19. The emails are intended to trick you into donating to a phony charity, buying fake test kits, or installing malware on your computer. These scams may also be used as a means to obtain sensitive personal information from you (such as your social security number, account number, or debit/credit card number).
If you are ever unsure about a communication, Pause and Evaluate before you act. Almost all scams will fall into one of these categories
- Authority – Is the sender claiming to be from someone official (e.g., your bank or doctor, a lawyer, a government agency)? Criminals often pretend to be important people or organizations to trick you into doing what they want.
- Urgency – Are you told you have a limited time to respond (e.g., in 24 hours or immediately)? Criminals often threaten you with fines or other negative consequences.
- Emotion – Does the message make you panic, fearful, hopeful, or curious? Criminals often use threatening language, make false claims of support, or attempt to tease you into wanting to find out more.
- Scarcity – Is the message offering something in short supply (e.g., concert tickets, money, or a cure for medical conditions)? Fear of missing out on a good deal or opportunity can make you respond quickly.
With stimulus payments arriving, the IRS is already reporting a surge of phishing scams. In order to check the status of your payment use The "Get My Payment" tool from the IRS. If you filed your 2018 or 2019 taxes, then you can use this tool to find information about your payment status, type, and to set up direct deposit.Please refer to the IRS.gov with any questions related to payments as they are issued directly by the IRS.
No one from the IRS will be contacting you via phone, email, text, mail, social media, or in person to gather information in order to complete their economic impact payment. Do not give out banking information or credit card numbers to anyone in an attempt to speed up processing. There is no prioritized processing service.