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COVID-19 Economic Payment Relief Scams

Watch out for scammers attempting to steal your COVID-19 (the Coronavirus) Economic Impact Payments, is the warring issued today by U.S. Attorney Andrew Murray and Matthew D. Line, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CI) in Charlotte.

“We continue to warn the public about scammers taking advantage of the Coronavirus crisis to line their own pockets. With economic relief payments soon on the way, scammers will get even more aggressive and more creative to get their hands on your money. Remain vigilant and warn your friends and family about COVID-19 scams. Also, do your part in helping us catch scammers and report suspected fraud,” said U.S. Attorney Murray.

“I urge the public not to fall victim to fraudsters attempting to steal Economic Impact Payments being sent out. The IRS will not call, text, email or otherwise contact you to ask for your information. This money is meant for you. Don’t fall victim to scammers,” said Matthew D. Line, Special Agent in Charge, IRS-CI, Charlotte Field Office.

The Treasury Department and the IRS announced that distribution of Economic Impact Payments will begin in the next three weeks and will be distributed automatically, with no action required for most people. Information from 2018 or 2019 tax return, if filed, will be used to calculate payment. Most individuals do not need to take any action. The IRS will calculate and automatically send payment to those eligible.

The IRS will deposit the economic relief check into the direct deposit account previously provided in your tax returns. If banking information was not provided, the IRS will send you a check via mail. The IRS will NOT contact you to request your banking info, will not ask you to confirm personal information to send or expedite your economic impact payment, or require you to pay a fee.

If you receive a call claiming to be from the IRS or any entity related to the Economic Impact Payment, do not engage scammers or thieves. Do not give out your bank account, debit account or PayPal account information, even if someone claims it is necessary to get your check. It’s a scam!

It will take a few weeks before the Treasury mails out the Economic Impact Payments. If you receive a “check” for an odd amount or a check that requires you to verify the check online or by calling a number, it is a fraud. Also, be vigilant about collecting your mail soon after it is delivered, to prevent the theft of economic relief checks arriving in your mailbox.

Don’t be a victim! Education is the best way to avoid being defrauded by scammers. Visit www.irs.gov for the latest information on new scams and schemes. To find out more about Department of Justice resources and information, please visit www.justice.gov/coronavirus.

To report suspected fraud the Justice Department urges you to call the National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline by calling 866-720-5721 or sending an email to disaster@leo.gov.