LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The Internal Revenue Service Monday warned taxpayers about a new wave of COVID-19-related scams as the agency delivers the second round of Economic Impact Payments.
The IRS-Criminal Investigation Division has seen a variety of EIP scams and other financial schemes in the last several months designed to steal money and personal information from taxpayers.READ MORE: San Bernardino Surpasses 3K Total COVID-19 Deaths, Ventura Nears 900
“Fraudsters beware! The IRS-CI Los Angeles field office is on high- alert regarding the recent Economic Impact Payment scams designed to steal money from American taxpayers who are in need of the ongoing COVD-19 economic relief efforts,” said Ryan Korner, special agent in charge with the IRS-CI L.A. field office.
“We will work tirelessly with our law enforcement partners to identify the perpetrators of these schemes and they will be brought to justice,” he said. “We ask all California taxpayers to remain vigilant and spread the word to avoid becoming the victim of these criminal schemes designed to steal your money and personal information.”
Some common COVID-19 scams include:READ MORE: New COVID Vaccine Site Opening At USC Campus, City Working To Get Doses To Homebound Residents
- text messages asking taxpayers to disclose bank account information under the guise of receiving the $1,200 EIP;
- phishing schemes using email, letters and social media messages with keywords such as “coronavirus,” “COVID-19” and “stimulus” in varying ways. These communications are blasted to large numbers of people and aim to access personally-identifying information and financial account information (including account numbers and passwords);
- the organized and unofficial sale of fake at-home COVID-19 test kits (as well as offers to sell fake cures, vaccines, pills and professional medical advice regarding unproven COVID-19 treatments);
- fake donation requests for individuals, groups and areas heavily affected by the disease; and
- bogus opportunities to “invest” in companies developing COVID-19 vaccines while promising that the “company” will dramatically increase in value as a result.
The IRS does not send unsolicited texts or emails and does not call people with threats of jail or lawsuits, nor does it demand tax payments on gift cards.
COVID-19 scams should be reported to the National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at 1-866-720-5721 or submitted through the NCDF Web Complaint Form.
More information about COVID-19 scams and other financial schemes can be found at IRS.gov.MORE NEWS: Poll: LA County Crime Victims Feel Criminal Justice System Failed Them
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)