TAS Tax Tip: Avoid scams offering Economic Impact Payments

April 2, 2020

We know everyone is eager to get more information on the recent Coronavirus Tax Relief and to receive an Economic Impact Payment, if they qualify.

While it’s tempting, don’t fall victim to scams that promise to get you payments faster in exchange for your personal information or for a fee – they can’t do that. Don’t believe scammers pretending to be the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), representatives from the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) or other government organizations either.

The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers to request any personal or financial information for the Economic Impact Payment through:

  • Email, 
  • Text messages, or
  • Social media sites, groups or forums

Be cautious of anyone asking you to verify your personal identification and/or banking information in order to receive the Economic Impact Payment. Scammers are savvy and may attempt to use social engineering schemes to get your information.

Spread the word. Tell your friends, relatives and neighbors - do not to respond to any requests pretending to be associated with Coronavirus Tax Relief or Economic Impact Payments!

FAKE WEBSITES

There are many scammers that use websites designed to look almost identical to a federal agency website but they will not have the right url or website address. Make sure you are looking at a website that starts with “https://” and ends with “.gov”. Otherwise they are likely not a valid U.S. government site. If you receive an email, text message, web link or other communication from an unknown source or sender, avoid clicking on the link or opening the attachments.

OFFICIAL IRS AND TAXPAYER ADVOCATE SERVICE WEBSITES

The official source of information for the Ecomonic Impact Payments is www.irs.gov/coronavirus. You can also visit the Taxpayer Advocate’s coronavirus site for updated guidance on tax relief available in response to Coronavirus (COVID-19).

CHARITABLE DONATIONS

If you choose to donate to a charitable organization, use the IRS Tax Exempt Organization search tool to verify an organization’s federal tax status before donating.

REPORT SCAMS

Report any scam-related and fraudulent contacts, phone numbers and websites to phishing@irs.gov. Learn more about reporting suspected scams by going to the Report Phishing and Online Scams page on IRS.gov.

TAXPAYER ADVOCATE SERVICE ASSISTANCE

Know that TAS is open to virtually serve taxpayers who find themselves in hardship situations or dealing with IRS tax problems they’ve been unable to resolve directly with the IRS. Please understand though, that TAS cannot currently help you get any Economic Impact Payments before the IRS releases them.

We appreciate your patience and understanding as we serve our taxpayers in this virtual environment. This is an evolving situation, and the IRS — and TAS — are adjusting as we go along.

Read more about the kinds of problems TAS handles and how we may be able to assist you with yours.

IRS RESOURCES

Note: As more information becomes available, the IRS will post that information to IRS.gov.

TAS RESOURCES

OTHER RESOURCES