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IRS isn’t texting or emailing you about stimulus checks

If you receive an email or text message from the IRS about a stimulus check or unemployment claim, watch out — it’s most likely a scam, the agency says.

Tax season is heating up and so are fraud attempts. There are many potential fraud attempts this year related to Covid-19 relief measures such as stimulus checks or unemployment benefits.

If the message concerns IRS Secure Access (a two-factor authentication process), then IRS will not contact you by text or email. Someone pretending to be the IRS by sending a text regarding a bill or refund is a fraud. IRS claims it will not send messages to taxpayers via social media.

In a statement, Chuck Rettig, IRS Commissioner said that “Filing season is underway. This is a prime time for identity thieves to hit people avec realistic-looking email and texts about tax returns and refunds.”

This scam is designed to steal identity information, cash from you, or at certain times of the year your tax refund. According to the agency, these texts may contain links to fraudulent IRS tools or websites, as well as reference Covid-19 and stimulus payments.

Although phone scams can be common, it’s unlikely the IRS will contact you directly. Do not answer any calls from someone claiming to be an IRS agent and demanding payment. That is how they will ask for payment.

The IRS also does not leave any “prerecorded or urgent messages” according to a press release. These scams tell you that you must call back the number or an arrest warrant will issue. These are not legitimate calls.

The IRS will never call you making these demands — even if the phone number appears to be from an IRS building, since that can be faked.

The IRS will contact you via regular mail if they do make contact. If you owe any taxes, the agency advises that payments be made to U.S. Treasury only.

You are urged to send the agency a screen shot of unsolicited messages if you have received one. phishing@irs.govInclude the following information: Date and time of receipt, as well as your telephone number. Add any suspicious emails as attachments to the email address.

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Mike Robinson
Mike covers the financial, utilities and biotechnology sectors for Street Register. He has been writing about investment and personal finance topics for almost 12 years. Mike has an MBA in Finance from Wake Forest University.