Beware of Coronavirus Related Scams in Florida
The IRS is warning taxpayers to be on the lookout for scams related the Coronavirus, or COVID-19, which can lead to tax-related fraud and identity theft. The IRS and its Criminal Investigation Division have seen a new wave of phishing schemes against taxpayers. Senior citizens are among the most vulnerable to these scams and should be especially careful during this time.
In its press release, the IRS reminded taxpayers that the IRS is never going to call you asking to verify or provide your financial information so you can get an economic impact payment or refund faster. Taxpayers should watch out for emails, text messages, websites, and social media attempts that appear to be from the IRS and request money or personal information. If you receive an email that appears to be coming from the IRS, do not open it or click on attachments or links. You should go to the IRS official website, www.IRS.gov for the most up-to-date information.
The IRS also provides the following items to keep in mind, in order to protect yourself and your loved ones:
- Scammers may emphasize the words “stimulus check” or “stimulus payment.” The official term is economic impact payment.
- Scammers may ask the taxpayer to sign over the economic impact payment check to them.
- Scammers may ask by phone, email, text, or social media for verification of personal and/or banking information, saying that the information is needed to receive or speed up their economic impact payment.
- Scammers may suggest that they can get a tax refund or economic impact payment faster by working on the taxpayer’s behalf. This scam could be conducted by social media or even in person.
- Scammers may mail the taxpayer a bogus check, perhaps in an odd amount, then tell the taxpayer to call a number or verify information online in order to cash it.
Taxpayers who receive unsolicited emails, text messages, or social media attempts to gather information that appear to be from the IRS should forward it to [email protected].
Fred Jacobs is a Florida Board Certified Tax Lawyer and Sean Byrne is an elder law litigator. Contact Fred or Sean at Bach, Jacobs & Byrne, P.A. if you or a senior you know has been the target of elder exploitation or needs assistance with tax matters. Call (941) 906-1231 to schedule an appointment.