IRS warns Virginia taxpayers about COVID-19 related scams

Virginia News

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Don’t let scammers get a hold of your second stimulus payment! The Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation Division is warning Virginia taxpayers about a new wave of COVID-19 related scams.

With the second round of economic impact payments going out and the tax filing season approaching the IRS said they know of a variety of schemes designed to steal money and personal information.

“IRS-CI wants to make sure all Virginians are aware of potential scams, in hopes of preventing them from being victimized,” Special Agent in Charge Kelly R. Jackson said. “Please stay vigilant of potential scammers looking to steal your identity and your money.”

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 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.
  • Bogus opportunities to invest in companies developing COVID-19 vaccines while promising that the “company” will dramatically increase in value as a result.

The best way to avoid becoming a victim is to know how the IRS communicates with taxpayers. The IRS will never send unsolicited texts or emails. The IRS will also never demand tax payment on gift cards.

COVID-19 scams should be reported to the National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) Hotline at 1-866-720-5721 or submitted through the NCDF Web Complaint Form.

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