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U.S. Attorney and IRS Warn of Potential Fraud and Schemes in Wake of Economic Impact Payments

U.S. Attorney Brandon J. Fremin of the Middle District of Louisiana, who also serves as the Executive Director of the National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF), again urges the public to be vigilant of potential fraud and schemes relating to the Internal Revenue Service COVID-19 economic impact payments, which will soon be disbursed.

U.S. Attorney Fremin stated, “Criminals constantly look for opportunities to take advantage of unsuspecting victims and this pandemic is a perfect example of such opportunity.  My office, along with the IRS, urge the public to continue using extreme caution when responding to unsolicited phone calls, emails, and text messages that appear to come from the IRS attempting to elicit your personal identifying information or financial information.   I strongly encourage the public to report suspected coronavirus-related waste, fraud, abuse or allegations of criminal conduct by contacting the NCDF.”

The IRS recently reminded taxpayers of approaches scammers may use:

  • Emphasize the words “Stimulus Check” or “Stimulus Payment.” The official term is economic impact payment.
  • Ask the taxpayer to sign over their economic impact payment check to them.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

For more information, visit the IRS website at www.irs.gov/coronavirus.

To report suspected fraud related to COVID-19, please contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud by calling 1-866-720-5721 or sending an e-mail to disaster@leo.gov.

 

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