The IRS issued a warning to Americans regarding "scam" text messages that promise false $1,200 stimulus checks. According to CNBC, the Internal Revenue Service wants Americans to know that scammers are sending out text messages to try and lure individuals into providing personal financial information, on the promise of another $1,200 check. They are asking that anyone who receives a message of this nature to not respond to it.
The wording of the message is said to read, "You have received a direct deposit of $1,200 from COVID-19 TREAS FUND. Further action is required to accept this payment into your account. Continue here to accept this payment..." It also comes with a link that appears to be for an official website, but it is not. The IRS has made it clear that the department does not send text messages such as these. Additionally, the IRS clarified that it does not request for payments to be made in gift cards, nor does it threaten lawsuits or imprisonment.
Text messages promising $1,200 stimulus checks are actually scams, IRS warns https://t.co/VOmNDAxEAY— CNBC (@CNBC) December 14, 2020
"Thousands of people have lost millions of dollars and their personal information to tax scams," reads a section of the IRS Tax Scams and Consumer Alerts webpage. "Scammers use the regular mail, telephone, or email to set up individuals, businesses, payroll and tax professionals. The IRS doesn't initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or social media channels to request personal or financial information. Recognize the telltale signs of a scam."
In a statement on the scam texts, IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said, "Criminals are relentlessly using Covid-19 and economic impact payments as cover to try to trick taxpayers out of their money or identities. This scam is a new twist on those we've been seeing much of this year." He then added, "We urge people to remain alert to these types of scams."
If you are someone you know receives one of the scam texts, the IRS asks that you take a screenshot of the message and forward it to them using the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org. The department also asks that you include any details such as the date and time the text came in. They ask that the phone number the text came in from, as well as the number it was sent to, be provided as well.