IRS warns North Carolinians of ‘new wave’ of scams involving stimulus checks

North Carolina news

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — The Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CI) is warning North Carolina taxpayers about a new wave of COVID-19-related scams as the agency
delivers the second round of stimulus checks.

The IRS says that in the last few months, there has been a variety of scams and other financial schemes aimed at stealing away your stimulus aid.

Criminals have been taking advantage of the second round of payments, especially as the tax-filing season approaches.

“As this second round of Economic Impact Payments are being issued and as we approach tax filing season, I’d like to remind taxpayers to remain vigilant. Fraudsters continue to exploit this pandemic to victimize the American public by seeking ways to gain access to taxpayer’s personal and financial information in an effort to line their own pockets,” said Special Agent in Charge Matthew D. Line.

Some common COVID-19 scams include:

• Text messages asking taxpayers to disclose bank account information under the
guise of receiving the $1,200 Economic Impact Payments.
• Phishing schemes using email, letters and social media messages with key
words 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.
• 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 says the best way to avoid falling victim to a scam is knowing how the IRS communicates with taxpayers.

The IRS says it does not send unsolicited texts or emails. The IRS does not call people with threats of jail or lawsuits, nor does it demand tax payments on gift cards.

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