IRS warns against COVID-19 fraud 



BOSTON – The Internal Revenue Service reminds taxpayers to guard against tax fraud and other financial scams related to COVID-19. 

The IRS Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) has seen a variety of Economic Impact Payment (EIP) scams and other financial schemes looking to take advantage of taxpayers. IRS-CI continues to work with law enforcement agencies to educate taxpayers about these scams and investigate the criminals perpetrating them. 

Scams related to COVID-19 are not limited to stealing EIPs from taxpayers, however. IRS-CI has already seen scams related to the organized selling of fake at-home test kits, offers to sell fake cures, vaccines, pills and advice on unproven treatments for COVID-19. Other scams purport to sell large quantities of medical supplies through the creation of fake shops, websites, social media accounts and email addresses where the criminal fails to deliver promised supplies after receiving funds.  

Other COVID-19 related scams involve setting up fake charities soliciting donations for individuals, groups and areas affected by the disease. Some criminals are offering opportunities to invest early in companies working on a vaccine for the disease promising that the “company” will dramatically increase in value as a result. These promotions are often styled as “research reports,” make predictions of a specific “target price,” and relate to microcap stocks, or low-priced stocks issued by the smallest of companies with limited publicly available information. 

Finally, IRS-CI has also seen aincrease in phishing schemes utilizing emails, letters, texts and links. These phishing schemes are using keywords such as “corona virus,” “COVID-19” and “stimulus” in varying ways. These schemes are blasted to large numbers of people in an effort to get personally identifying information or financial account information to include account numbers and passwords.  

Virus-related scams should be reported to the National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) Hotline at 1-866-720-5721 or online at TIPS.TIGTA.GOV. TIGTA investigates external attempts to corruptly interfere with federal tax administration, including IRS-related coronavirus scams. 

Those who receive unsolicited emails or social media attempts to gather information that appear to be from either the IRS or an organization linked to the IRS, such as the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System, should forward it to [email protected]. Taxpayers are encouraged not to engage potential scammers online or on the phone. 

Learn more by going to the Report Phishing and Online Scams page on IRS.gov. Official IRS information about the COVID-19 pandemic and economic impact payments can be found on the Coronavirus Tax Relief page on IRS.gov. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.