IRS warns of rise in payment scams as Tax Day nears

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This April 23, 2020, file photo shows President Donald J. Trump’s name printed on a stimulus check issued by the IRS to help combat the adverse economic effects of the new coronavirus outbreak in San Antonio. The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund is suing the federal government over its denial of federal coronavirus relief payments to U.S. citizens who are married to immigrants without social security numbers. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

(WRIC) — Taxes are due in a matter of days and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is reminding taxpayers to remain vigilant of scams.

In a release Thursday, the IRS Criminal Investigation Division said tax scams are on the rise — and the pandemic may be to blame.

RUNNING OUT OF TIME: July 15 is Tax Day. What to know about the deadline

COVID-19 caused the April 15 tax deadline extension to July 15. Taxpayers in need of more time and filing Form 1040 series returns must file Form 4868 by July 15 to obtain the automatic extension to Oct. 15. This action, however, is leading to some scammers collecting vital information from taxpayers, the IRS explains.

“Criminals use the tax filing deadline as an opportunity to steal personal and financial information,” said Kelly R. Jackson, Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of the IRS Criminal Investigation division for the Washington D.C. Field Office. “Taxpayers should remain vigilant and know that the IRS will not initiate contact with them via phone, email, or social media to request personal or financial information.”

RELATED: IRS warns of bogus companies claiming to have COVID cure, uptick in charity impostors

Officials noted that a variety of Economic Impact Payment (EIP) scams continue to be a target for fraudulent monetary gains. The EIP scams, which target coronavirus relief stimulus checks, have led to the confiscation of personal information and personal funds.

Taxpayers can report COVID-19 scams to the National Center for Disaster Fraud. Taxpayers can also report fraud or theft of their Economic Impact Payments to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA). 

Click here for more information about tax filings and IRS impersonation scams.


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