The IRS has urged taxpayers to remain vigilant against scammers who continue to use the COVID-19 emergency to perpetrate tax fraud. The IRS Criminal Investigation division (CI) has seen a variety of Economic Impact Payment (EIP) scams and other financial schemes looking to take advantage of unsuspecting taxpayers. Scams related to COVID -19 are not limited to stealing EIPs from taxpayers, however. CI has already seen scams related to the organized selling of fake at-home test kits, offers to sell fake cures, vaccines, pills and advice on unproven treatments for COVID-19. Other scams purport to sell large quantities of medical supplies through the creation of fake shops, websites, social media accounts and email addresses where the criminal fails to deliver promised supplies after receiving funds. In addition, some scams involve setting up fake charities soliciting donations for individuals, groups and areas affected by the disease.
Coronavirus-related scams should be reported to the National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) Hotline at 1-866-720-5721 or submitted through the NCDF Web Complaint Form. The NCDF is a national coordinating agency within the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division dedicated to improving the detection, prevention, investigation and prosecution of criminal conduct related to natural and man-made disasters and other emergencies, such as the coronavirus. Further, the Service has urged taxpayers to report phishing attempts to the IRS. Those who receive unsolicited emails or social media attempts to gather information that appear to be from either the IRS or an organization closely linked to the IRS, such as the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), should forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org.