The U.S. Internal Revenue Service issued a warning on Wednesday of a new "Covid-related text scam" that it said has been "created by thieves [to] trick people into disclosing [their] bank account information" by making them believe that it will result in their receiving the US$1,200 Economic Impact Payment (EIP).
In a statement, the IRS, which said it was working alongside representatives of U.S. states and the tax industry, reminded U.S. taxpayers "that neither the IRS nor state agencies will ever text taxpayers asking for bank account information, so that an EIP deposit may be made".
The statement quoted the scam text message currently making the rounds as stating: “You have received a direct deposit of US$1,200 from COVID-19 TREAS FUND. Further action is required to accept this payment into your account.
"Continue here to accept this payment …” The text then includes a link to a fake phishing web address.
This fake phishing URL, which appears to come from a state agency or relief organization, then takes the scam text recipient to a fraudulent website that impersonates the IRS.gov Get My Payment website, the IRS statement continues.
"Individuals who visit the fraudulent website and then enter their personal and financial account information will have their information collected by these scammers."
The IRS statement concluded: "The IRS does not send unsolicited texts or emails. The IRS does not call people with threats of jail or lawsuits, nor does it demand tax payments on gift cards.
People who believe they are eligible for the Economic Impact Payment should go directly to IRS.gov.
"People who do not have a filing requirement but who are eligible for EIP can use a non-filers tool on IRS.gov until Nov. 21 to claim their payment."
Retig: 'New twist'
IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said the text scam was "a new twist on those we’ve been seeing much of this year" and that the IRS urged U.S. taxpayers to "remain alert to these types of scams".
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