IRS-CI and West Virginia COVID-19 Fraud Task Force warn of emerging phishing schemes


Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), along with the West Virginia COVID-19 Fraud Task Force, warns taxpayers to be alert about current scams relating to COVID-19 economic impact payments being seen already.

Kelly R. Jackson, Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of the IRS-CI Washington DC Field Office, United States Attorney Mike Stuart for the Southern District of West Virginia, and United States Attorney Bill Powell for the Northern District of West Virginia made the announcement today to warn people of the increase in phishing scams regarding economic impact payments. 

“The community is experiencing enough hardship right now without needing to worry about scammers trying to steal their money that they desperately need,” said SAC Jackson.  “IRS-CI, along with our law enforcement counterparts are working hard to protect the public from these thieves.  These types of investigations are being prioritizing to help protect taxpayers and the tax system” 

“So many of our neighbors are counting on this stimulus to assist them through this uncertain time. For someone to prey on that uncertainty and take the very money meant to feed and support our residents is an outrageous crime. Those scammers will be prosecuted swiftly,” said Bill Powell, U.S. Attorney, the Northern District of West Virginia.

“Economic impact payments are critical to the many West Virginians who have lost income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said United States Attorney Mike Stuart.  “Please heed the warnings of the IRS and don’t let fraudsters and scammers steal your money.  If you are scammed, please report it and know that my partners and I will utilize all the resources available through our statewide COVID-19 Fraud Task Force to identify and prosecute the fraudsters.”   

We want to remind the community to be vigilant of scammers who are striving to steal your personal information and money.  Please keep in mind that when using the tools on IRS.gov – “Get My Payment” and “Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here” - you must access these tools from IRS.gov. The IRS site will then transfer you to FreeFileFillableForms.com. 

The IRS will not text you, email you or contact you on social media asking for personal or bank account information – even related to the economic impact payments.  Recently, there has been an increase in phishing schemes utilizing emails, letters, texts and links. These contacts will often come in the form of unsolicited email and/or websites that pose as legitimate sites in an effort to lure unsuspecting victims to provide personal and financial information.  Scammers will often use websites similar to valid ones - for example IRSGOV, IRS GOV, or using extra letters and/or spaces in lieu of IRS.GOV.  We are aware of phishing emails coming from “[email protected]” which directs you to a link that contains “economic impact payment” and uses a company name similar to the Free File Alliance partner you are transferred to while using the IRS tool for Non-Filers.  DO NOT click on the link – this is a scam.  Other phishing schemes are using keywords such as “Corona Virus”, “COVID-19”, and “Stimulus” in varying ways.

When visiting a website or when you receive an email containing a link, pay close special attention to web address you are directed to in order ensure it is from a legitimate source.  Watch out for emails with attachments or links claiming to have special information about economic impact payments or refunds.  Report suspicious emails to [email protected] 

To report any type of fraud, please call the National Disaster Fraud hotline at 866-720-5721 or go to https://www.justice.gov/coronavirus. 

To report fraud directly to IRS-CI email [email protected]

For more information regarding Economic Impact Payments, visit the IRS website at www.irs.gov/coronavirus

Advertisement