Updated January 14, 2021 - 12:39 pm
The Internal Revenue Service on Thursday warned Americans to be wary of a new wave of coronavirus-related scams as the second round of COVID-19 stimulus checks are being distributed.
The agency’s criminal investigation division has seen numerous scams related to the stimulus checks that are designed to steal money and personal information, according to a statement from the IRS. The agency noted that it does not send unsolicited texts or emails, does not threaten people with jails or lawsuits and does not demand tax payments as gift cards.
The scams include texts messages asking people to disclose bank account information, phishing schemes through emails, letters and social media messages aiming to access personal identifying information, the sale of fake at-home COVID-19 test kits or medicinal treatments, fake donation requests for those affected by the pandemic and fake opportunities to invest in companies developing COVID-19 vaccines.
COVID-19 scams can be reported to the National Center for Disaster Fraud using the agency’s website, or by calling 1-866-720-5721. People can also report fraud or theft of their stimulus check on the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration’s website.
Anyone who receives unsolicited emails or social media messages that appear to be from the IRS should forward the message to firstname.lastname@example.org.