Scammers are at it again and flooding us with texts and emails that involve phony pitches about stimulus money, known as Economic Impact Payments.
One email, pretending to be from the Internal Revenue Service, asked taxpayers to "please re-enter the correct banking data previously provided to the IRS."
Another was titled: "Third Round of Economic Impact Payments Status Available."
That email included the greeting: "Dear Customers IRS" and then went on to tell taxpayers that they were eligible for $815.05. But to get the money, you'd click on a blue box marked "Claim My Payment."
Clicking on any link or box, of course, opens the door to scammers who may attempt to download malware onto your computer to steal important ID information.
The email tried its best to sound official — but ultimately sounded super strange — by ending with a footnote saying: "Note: For security reasons, we will record your ip-address, the date and time. Deliberate wrong inputs are criminally pursued and indicated."
Indicated? What? Were the scammers, maybe, thinking of indicted? And while we're at it, "criminally pursued" isn't a exactly a phrase you hear on "Law & Order" either.
The IRS announced Thursday that it received a record number of complaints about Economic Impact Payment scams in June and July, a level not seen in more than a decade. Specific numbers were not disclosed.
The alert said scammers have sent text messages stating that a taxpayer is eligible for a "stimulus paymenta" and they must click on a link to complete the necessary information to claim it.
And phishing emails claim that the IRS calculated a taxpayer’s "fiscal activity" and they are eligible for an Economic Impact Payment in a specific amount.
The IRS once again alerted taxpayers that it does not send unsolicited texts or emails.
And the IRS does not threaten individuals with jail or lawsuits, or demand tax payments on gift cards or via cryptocurrency. You're never making a payment to anyone but the U.S. Treasury.
The IRS said if the agency does call a taxpayer, the taxpayer should not be surprised because the IRS will generally send a notice or letter first.
Taxpayers can report fraud or theft of their Economic Impact Payments to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. You can make a report online at TIPS.TIGTA.GOV.
The alert noted that unsolicited emails or social media attempts to gather information that appear to be from either the IRS or an organization closely linked to the IRS can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Taxpayers are encouraged not to engage potential scammers online or on the phone," the alert said.©2021 Detroit Free Press. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.