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IRS is warning West Virginians of a ‘new wave’ of COVID-19 scams

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Published: Jan. 14, 2021 at 1:39 PM EST
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WASHINGTON, D.C. (WDTV) - The Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CI) is warning West Virginia taxpayers about a new wave of COVID-19-related scams.

In the last several months, IRS-CI has reportedly seen a variety of Economic Impact Payment (EIP) scams and other financial schemes aimed to steal money and personal information from taxpayers.

“IRS-CI reminds all West Virginians to remain vigilant and aware of potential scams.” said Special Agent in Charge Kelly R. Jackson.  “We hope that by alerting taxpayers of scams we have already seen, we can prevent people from becoming victimized.”

Some common COVID-19 scams include:

· Text messages asking taxpayers to disclose bank account information under the guise of receiving the $1,200 Economic Impact Payments.

· Phishing schemes using email, letters and social media messages with key words such as “Coronavirus,” “COVID-19,” and “stimulus” in varying ways. These communications are blasted to large numbers of people and aim to access personally identifying information and financial account information (including account numbers and passwords).

· The organized and unofficial sale of fake at-home COVID-19 test kits (as well as offers to sell fake cures, vaccines, pills, and professional medical advice regarding unproven COVID-19 treatments).

· Fake donation requests for individuals, groups and areas heavily affected by thedisease.

· Bogus opportunities to invest in companies developing COVID-19 vaccines while promising that the “company” will dramatically increase in value as a result.

It is important to note that 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.

COVID-19 scams should be reported to the National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) Hotline at 1-866-720-5721 or submitted through the NCDF Web Complaint Form.

To learn more about COVID-19 scams and other financial schemes visit IRS.gov. Official IRS information about COVID-19 and Economic Impact Payments can be found on the Coronavirus Tax Relief page.

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