The IRS is warning consumers of a new twist in the “tax refund scam” — criminals are impersonating the agency and asking people to send them money. The agency says phishing scams using social media and text messages are on the rise, especially in the wake of Covid-19 and stimulus checks and unemployment benefits.
How long after you verify identity do you get refund?
Scammers are contacting consumers and dangling the promise of a $1,200 stimulus check or a refund payment from the IRS to lure them into sending personal information. The texts include links that take consumers to fake websites and tools, the agency warns. The IRS also warns against calls demanding immediate payment without giving the taxpayer a chance to question or appeal the amount owed.
Got a text about money from the IRS The scammers tell taxpayers to make the check out to “IRS,” a move that allows them to change the lettering on the check and steal identities and other financial information, the agency says. In reality, the IRS asks that checks be made out to the U.S. Treasury.
The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers via email or social media, and will never request PIN numbers or passwords to online credit card or bank accounts. Anyone who calls or posts on social media requesting such information is a fraudster, the agency says. The IRS also does not leave prerecorded urgent or threatening voicemails. Taxpayers who owe tax debt should use the IRS’ free online Offer in Compromise pre-qualifying tool to see if they qualify for the program before sending a payment.