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April 20, 2020

David Barnes
(202) 622-3062

TIGTA Reminds U.S. Taxpayers To Be On The Lookout For Fraudulent Activity Concerning The CARES Act Economic Impact Payments

WASHINGTON – The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) today urged eligible Economic Impact Payment recipients, financial institutions, and other Federal, State, and local law enforcement partners to report suspected fraud relating to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The CARES Act has authorized Economic Impact Payments to approximately 160 million taxpayers, which will be delivered by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) through direct deposit or via U.S. Treasury check delivered by the U.S. Mail.

TIGTA's Office of Investigations anticipates criminals will engage in various scams and schemes in attempts to intercept Economic Impact Payments, and/or steal sensitive taxpayer information during these challenging times.

TIGTA is responsible for conducting statutory oversight of issues relating to Federal tax administration and, as such, regularly investigates fraudulent activity related to the financial distributions of funds, such as the Economic Impact Payments, which are issued by the IRS. Based on historical trends in illicit activity, TIGTA reminds all taxpayers of the following to help avoid being victimized:

  • The IRS will not call you, text you, or e-mail you to prompt you for more information as a prerequisite to getting an Economic Impact Payment.
  • To check on the status of your Economic Impact Payment, please visit www.IRS.gov and click on "Get My Payment." Only use the website www.IRS.gov. Do not use any other websites or services that claim to be able to process your Economic Impact Payment or act as an intermediary between you and the IRS. Similarly, do not click on any links in e-mails that purport to take you to the IRS website. The best practice is to manually type "www.IRS.gov" into your web browser.
  • Anyone who calls you claiming to be from the IRS and offering to process your Economic Impact Payment is impersonating the IRS. Do not share any personal or financial information with these scammers. Please report this activity on our website at tips.TIGTA.gov.
  • Do not share your personal information with anyone, whether claiming to be from the IRS or some other business or agency, offering to assist you with your Economic Impact Payment. Payments will be delivered by the IRS through direct deposit or via U.S. Treasury check delivered by the U.S. Mail.
  • Do not share your online banking username or password with anyone. The IRS does not need your online banking username and password in order to send your Economic Impact Payment.

After your Economic Impact Payment has been sent, the IRS will send you a letter confirming your payment. If you receive this letter, but you have not received your Economic Impact Payment, please report the missing payment to TIGTA through our website at tips.TIGTA.gov. You will also need to report the missing payment separately to the IRS.

Scammers may also try to convince victims to deposit fraudulent or stolen U.S. Treasury checks into a victim's bank account. After the victim makes the deposit, the scammers request that the victim send funds from that deposit to another account, or use those funds to purchase prepaid cards. Report this type of activity to TIGTA immediately at tips.TIGTA.gov.