Watch Out for Coronavirus-Related Scams

April 22, 2020

All information is based on our current understanding as of the date that it is posted. Please keep in mind this information is changing rapidly – it can and likely will change. Some information becomes outdated the same date it posted. Although we will monitor and update this page as new information becomes available, please do not rely solely on this page. We encourage you to contact your Lohman Company advisor for the latest information.

On Thursday, April 2, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued a warning concerning the development of new scams related to the coronavirus, particularly the recovery rebates legislated by the CARES Act. It is not surprising that criminals are taking advantage of the chaos resulting from the coronavirus outbreak to perpetrate fraud.

The IRS has observed an uptick in fraudulent requests related to the coronavirus outbreak. In particular, the economic impact payments legislated in the CARES Act have opened the door to new scams.

As a reminder, here are some facts about the economic impact payments:

  • The IRS exclusively uses the terminology “economic impact payment” to refer to the payment.
  • Most taxpayers will receive their economic impact payments via direct deposit into the bank account they previously provided on a 2018 or 2019 tax return.
  • Taxpayers without direct deposit information on file with the IRS will have the opportunity to provide banking information via a secure portal website. The website is still in development and does not yet exist.
  • Taxpayers for whom the IRS does not have or receive direct deposit information will be mailed a check to their address on file.
  • Retirees who do not normally file a tax return do not need to do anything. The IRS will use the information on file to automatically distribute economic impact payments to them.
  • Click here to learn more about economic impact payments.

The IRS recommends that taxpayers watch out for emails, text messages, phone calls, websites, and social media requests containing any of the following:

  • Requests to provide banking information in order to ensure that the IRS can direct deposit an economic impact payment check.
  • Requests for any information from retirees in order to allow them to receive their economic impact payment.
  • Requests that refer to the economic impact payment as a “stimulus check” or “stimulus payment.”
  • Request for the economic impact payment to be signed over to somebody.
  • Request for verification of any personal or banking information in order to speed up the arrival of an economic impact payment.
  • Offers that claim to speed up economic impact payments.
  • Physical checks for an odd amount with instruction to call a number and verify information in order to cash it.

If you suspect that you may have received a fraudulent communication from somebody imitating the IRS, please reach out to phishing@irs.gov. You can also report suspected scams at irs.gov.

For more details, click here to read the IRS release in full.