The IRS does not send text messages or email you about stimulus checks

If you receive an email or text message from the IRS about a stimulus check or unemployment claim, be careful – it’s most likely a scam, the agency says.

When the tax season gets hot, so does attempted fraud. This year, it includes potential fraud related to many Covid-19 relief measures, including stimulus checks and unemployment benefits.

The IRS will not contact you via email or text message unless the text message is related to IRS Secure Access, a two-factor authentication process. A text about a bills or reimbursement is a person who pretends to be the agency. The IRS says it will also never send taxpayers messages on social media.

“With the application season underway, this is a first-time period for identity thieves to hit people with realistic-looking emails and texts about their tax returns and refunds,” IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said in a statement.

These scams continue to steal your identity information, money from you directly or, at this time of year, your tax refund. The texts often include links to fake IRS sites or tools and refer to Covid-19 or stimulus payments, according to the agency.

Phone fraud is also common, but the IRS is unlikely to call you directly. If someone who says they’m an IRS agent calls and demands that you pay a bill over the phone, hang up. The agency will not request payment that way.

Likewise, the IRS does not leave “pre-recorded, urgent or threatening messages,” the agency said in a statement. Many of these scam numbers will tell you that if you do not call back the number, an arrest warrant will be issued, the agency will call the police, or you will be deported. None of these are legitimate phone calls.

The IRS will never call you and make these claims – even if the phone number appears to be from an IRS building as it may be counterfeit.

In fact, if the IRS initiates contact with you, it will most likely be via the regular mail. The agency says that if you owe money in taxes, payments should only be made to the U.S. Treasury Department, nowhere else.

If you receive one of these unsolicited text messages, the agency encourages you to take a screenshot of it and email it to phishing@irs.gov along with the date and time you received it and your phone number. Do the same with potentially scam emails, by adding them as an attachment to the same email address.

Sign up now: Get smarter about your money and career with our weekly newsletter

Do not miss: How to file your tax return for free and collect missing stimulus money

Leave a Comment