As Americans prepare for a second round of Economic Impact Payments, Farmers State Bank would like to remind our customers to watch out for potential fraud scams. Below is a warning from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) about a new scam.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS), state tax agencies and the tax industry are warning taxpayers about a new scam - by text messages - to trick people into disclosing bank account information in order to receive an Economic Impact Payment, or stimulus check.
As part of the scam, thieves are texting messages to taxpayers. The message looks something like this:
“You have received a direct deposit of $1,200 from COVID-19 TREAS FUND. Further action is required to accept this payment into your account. Continue here to accept this payment…”
The text then includes a link to a web address. The web address is not legitimate: it’s a phishing URL. This phishing URL, which appears to come from a state agency or relief organization, directs victims to a fraudulent website that impersonates the IRS.gov Get My Payment website. Those who visit the fraudulent website are encouraged to enter their personal and financial account information: if you do, you will have your information collected by these scammers.
As a reminder, the IRS will never:
- Call to demand immediate payment over the phone, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill.
- Send unsolicited texts or emails about your tax account or stimulus check.
- Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying a tax bill.
- Demand that you pay taxes without allowing you to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
- Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card, gift card, or wire transfer.
- Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
When in doubt, assume it’s a scam. Don’t engage with scammers or thieves, even if you want to tell them that you know it’s a scam, or you think that you can beat them. Just hang up or delete the text.
If you have questions about your Economic Impact Payments (Stimulus Checks), we suggest that you start by talking to your tax preparer.