"We continue to see scam artists use the pandemic to steal money and information from honest taxpayers in a time of crisis," said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. "We provide this list to alert taxpayers about common scams that fraudsters use against their victims. At the IRS, we are dedicated to stopping these criminals, but it’s up to all of us to remain vigilant to protect ourselves and our families."
The IRS grouped the scams into four categories this year, including those related to the pandemic and personal information, those focused on unsuspecting victims and scams that force taxpayers into "unscrupulous actions."
Each category will be detailed throughout the week, beginning with Monday’s release.
Here’s a look at this year’s most prevalent pandemic-related rouses, according to the tax agency:
Economic impact theft
The IRS has noted an uptick in attempts to steal direct payments made to households during the pandemic. It has warned taxpayers to be suspicious of – and delete without opening – any text messages, random phone calls or emails inquiring about bank account information or requesting recipients to click a link or verify data.
Most people will receive stimulus payments automatically, the IRS noted.
The IRS will not initiate contact by phone, email or text to obtain personal information.
The agency urged households to frequently check mail and report suspected mail losses to Postal Inspectors.
Fraudulent unemployment claims
Scammers have been using stolen information to file for unemployment compensation on behalf of individuals who had not filed claims. The agency says people should be on the lookout for a Form 1099-G reporting unemployment payments that they didn’t receive.
For people on the receiving end of this scam, the agency advises them to contact their appropriate state agency for a corrected form. If they cannot obtain a corrected form, they should file their tax returns as soon as possible claiming only the unemployment compensation that they received.