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OTR Warns About Scams Involving Federal Payments For Individuals

Friday, April 3, 2020

The District of Columbia Office of Tax and Revenue (OTR) urges taxpayers to beware of scams involving the new federal economic impact payments. On April 2, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued a warning about coronavirus-related scams. The IRS reports seeing a significant increase in scams involving criminals trying to gather information needed for the payments

The IRS, which is one of OTR’s partners in the Security Summit, is seeing phone calls, text messages, and e-mails that criminals are using to phish for information from individual taxpayers as well as tax preparers.

Taxpayers are reminded that scammers may:

  • Emphasize the words "Stimulus Check" or "Stimulus Payment." 
  • Ask the taxpayer to sign over their economic impact payment check to them.
  • Ask by phone, email, text or social media for verification of personal and/or banking information saying that the information is needed to receive or speed up their economic impact payment.
  • Suggest that they can get a tax refund or economic impact payment faster by working on the taxpayer's behalf.
  • Mail the taxpayer a bogus check, perhaps in an odd amount, then tell the taxpayer to call a number or verify information online in order to cash it.

The criminals use the information they gather to raid taxpayer’s bank accounts or for other illegal purposes, such as identity theft or filing fraudulent tax returns. It is important to remember that government agencies, including the IRS and OTR, will not call, text, or email to request information about the federal payments.