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Beware of Scams, Schemes Related to Your Economic Impact Payment

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The COVID-19 pandemic has created a rise in scam-type calls and email phishing attempts. These contacts can lead to tax-related fraud and identity theft. That applies to surprise emails that appear to be coming from the IRS. To protect your information, do open them or click on attachments or links.

Most importantly, the IRS does not call individuals to verify or provide your financial information so you can get an economic impact payment or your refund faster, IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig reaffirmed Thursday, April 2, 2020.

Tips scammers may use include:

  • Emphasizing the words “Stimulus Check” or “Stimulus Payment.” The official term is economic impact payment.
  • Asking you to sign over their economic impact payment check to them.
  • Asking by phone, email, text or social media for verification of personal and/or banking information saying the information is needed to receive or speed up their economic impact payment.
  • Suggesting you can get a tax refund or economic impact payment faster by working on your behalf. This scam could be conducted by social media or even in person.
  • Mailing you a bogus check, perhaps in an odd amount, then tell you to call a number or verify information online to cash it.

You also should be cautious about text messages, websites and social media attempts that request money or personal information.

In most cases, the IRS will deposit economic impact payments into the direct deposit account you previously provided on tax returns. If you previously have filed but not provided direct deposit information to the IRS will be able to provide your banking information online to a newly designed secure portal on IRS.gov in mid-April.

If the IRS does not have your direct deposit information, a check will be mailed to the address on file. Outside of your Ericksen Krentel tax professional, you should not provide your direct deposit or other banking information for others to input on your behalf into the secure portal.

Note for Retirees

No action is required for retirees who don’t normally have to file a tax return to receive their $1,200 economic impact payment. No one from the IRS will reach out to retirees, including recipients of Forms SSA-1099 and RRB-1099, by phone, email, mail or in person asking for any kind of information to complete their economic impact payment. The IRS automatically will send the $1,200 payments automatically to retirees

In addition to contacting your Ericksen Krentel tax professional if you have concerns about communications related to economic impact payments, you can forward unsolicited emails, text messages or social media attempts to gather information to phishing@irs.gov.

As questions or concerns arise, we ask that you contact us so we can address them as quickly as possible to ensure we continue to meet your needs. As a reminder, you can always monitor our COVID-19 Updates webpage by clicking here for the latest or monitoring our accounts on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.

About Ericksen Krentel

Ericksen Krentel CPAs and Consultants, founded in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1960 with offices in New Orleans and Mandeville, believes that serving as the clients’ most trusted adviser is grounded in going beyond the numbers.

That includes helping clients achieve their business and personal financial goals by providing innovative and exceptional services in the following areas: audit and assurance services, tax compliance and planning, outsourced CFO services and business valuations for a variety of industries; employee benefit plan audits; fraud and forensic accounting; business planning; IT consulting; loss calculations; and estate planning.

Learn more at www.ericksenkrentel.com.

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