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IRS reports record number of stimulus scams: Don’t believe text messages that promise $600 or $1,200 payments

As debate continues about the necessity of another COVID stimulus payment to Americans, the IRS is warning about a new scam. This one involves the stimulus checks that went out over the last two years.

The IRS says that the number of phishing scams related to COVID stimulus payments has skyrocketed. Record numbers of these scams were reported in June and July.

“Even though taxpayers have received multiple rounds of Economic Impact Payments, we saw phishing scams surge this summer,” explained Jim Lee. He leads the criminal investigations division at the IRS. “The number of reported scam attempts reached levels we haven’t seen in more than a decade. More than ever, it is important for taxpayers to continue to protect their personal information and not fall victim to these scams.”

Finger Lakes Partners (Billboard)

The scammers are trying to get personal information. They use all sorts of communication methods – including text message, email, and phone call.

One of the more recent scams the IRS is reporting involves taxpayers receiving a text message that an individual qualifies for an another stimulus payment. To claim it – they are told to click on a link and fill out a form.

The IRS says this is not legitimate and should be ignored or reported. The agency reminded residents that they do not send out communications like this via email- nor do they solicit that kind of information over text message.

While you may receive a status update on a particular payment – stimulus or even tax refund via text message – the IRS will never ask you for information over that communication method.

If you see something that looks like a scam the IRS asks for it to be reported here.

Example of the email scams being reported by the IRS.
Example of the text message scams being reported by the IRS.

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