Coronavirus-Related Scams Target Taxpayers

The West Virginia State Tax Department is joining with the IRS in urging taxpayers to be on the lookout for a surge of calls and email phishing attempts about the Coronavirus, or COVID-19. These contacts can lead to tax-related fraud and identity theft.

There has been a recent wave of new and evolving phishing schemes against taxpayers due to the recent news about economic impact payments (referred to often as economic stimulus or rebates). The IRS and State Tax Department will not call you asking to verify or provide your financial information in order to receive a quicker refund or an economic impact payment. Please also be wary of emails, text messages, websites, and social media attempts to request money or personal information. Remember, do not open e-mails or click on attachments or links.

According to the IRS, most economic impact payments will be deposited into the direct deposit account taxpayers previously provided on tax returns. Taxpayers should not provide their direct deposit or other banking information for others to input on their behalf into the secure portal.

  • Scammers may:
  • Emphasize the words “Stimulus Check” or “Stimulus Payment.” The official term is economic impact payment.
  • Ask the taxpayer to sign over their economic impact payment check to them or for information regarding your refund.
  • Ask by phone, email, text or social media for verification of personal and/or banking information saying that the information is needed to receive or speed up their economic impact payment.
  • Suggest that they can get a tax refund or economic impact payment faster by working on the taxpayer’s behalf. This scam could be conducted by social media or even in person.
  • Mail the taxpayer a bogus check, perhaps in an odd amount, then tell the taxpayer to call a number or verify information online in order to cash it.

Those who receive unsolicited emails, text messages or social media attempts to gather information that appear to be from the West Virginia State Tax Department, please visit the following link for WV tax fraud reporting information:

Report Tax Fraud
https://tax.wv.gov/ReportTaxFraud/Pages/ReportTaxFraud.aspx.

Suspected WV tax fraud may be reported online, by telephone, or by U.S. Mail.

Should you receive similar communications that appear to be from the IRS, please forward to Phishing@IRS.Gov.

For more information about the IRS economic impact payments, coronavirus relief, and IRS efforts to combat fraud, please visit https://www.irs.gov/. .

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