Tax Related Scams and Government Stimulus Checks

Be Alert to Fraudulent Emails, Text Messages and Phone Calls

Fraudsters are on attack, using malicious email, text message and telephone scams designed to steal tax refunds and government stimulus checks being distributed to eligible individuals. Don’t fall for common scams:

Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Checks

  • No business/service can get you a check faster.
  • No third party is being used by the IRS to “hold” or sort checks.
  • Funds are issued directly from the IRS to you via direct deposit or U.S. Postal Service mail. Stimulus checks are issued based on how you filed your 2018 or 2019 taxes.
  • The IRS will not ask for PINs, passwords or confidential access information for credit cards or bank accounts over the phone or email.

Phone Scams

  • Scammers may pose as IRS agents or bank employees to request sensitive information or to ask you to verify sensitive information, such as bank account credentials and Social Security Numbers
  • Let all incoming calls from unknown numbers/callers go directly to voice mail.
  • Confirm any request with the alleged organization/business.
  • Use a known phone number or one published on the organization’s official website.

Email and Text Scams

Email or text messages may tempt you to click on a link to infect your device with malware or call a fake number promising urgent news about your stimulus check or asking you to share personal or banking information. These cyber attacks, known as phishing, are sometimes created to look like official bank correspondence

  • Do not click on links or open attachments.
  • Confirm the message is from a trusted source using a known phone number.

To report tax-related illegal activities, refer to the IRS chart explaining the types of activity and the appropriate forms or other methods to use. You should also report instances of IRS-related phishing attempts and fraud to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 800-366-4484.

Taxpayers who experience tax-related identity theft may wonder when they should file a Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit. See: When to file a Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit