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The Internal Revenue Service is warning about a surge of calls and email phishing attempts related to the Coronavirus, or COVID-19 and taxpayer economic payments. This comes as electronic threats appear to be reaching record levels.

These are aimed especially at seniors in light of the recently enacted program of economic impact payments. The IRS notes these payments will be deposited into accounts taxpayers have previously provided on tax returns. For those who do not have an account on file, a check will be mailed mid-April.

Neither the IRS or other agencies will reach out to taxpayers by phone, email, mail or in person and no action is required on the part of taxpayers. The IRS noted retirees who normally do not file a tax return also do not have to take any action to receive the $1,200 payment.

Scammers are reported to be emphasizing the words "Stimulus Check" or "Stimulus Payment" and may ask taxpayers to sign over payment checks. They may also asked for some verification of personal and/or banking information, claiming that information is needed to speed up payments.

Some scammers also represent themselves as being available to work on the taxpayer’s behalf to get tax refunds or the economic impact payments more quickly. They may also mail the taxpayer a bogus check and then tell the taxpayer to call a number of verify information online in order to cash it.

Bob Scott
Bob Scott has provided information to the tax and accounting community since 1991, first as technology editor of Accounting Today, and from 1997 through 2009 as editor of its sister publication, Accounting Technology. He is known throughout the industry for his depth of knowledge and for his high journalistic standards.  Scott has made frequent appearances as a speaker, moderator and panelist and events serving tax and accounting professionals. He  has a strong background in computer journalism as an editor with two former trade publications, Computer+Software News and MIS Week and spent several years with weekly and daily newspapers in Morris County New Jersey prior to that.  A graduate of Indiana University with a degree in journalism, Bob is a native of Madison, Ind
Last modified on Thursday, 02 April 2020
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