Delaware County Sheriff’s Office alerts locals about COVID-19 scam

Coronavirus

from the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office:

DELHI, NY – With the vast majority of the news focusing on the current COVID-19 health crisis, Delaware County Sheriff Craig S. DuMond is urging residents to remain ever vigilant for other viruses lurking out there – criminals that are preying on the elderly and those facing financial hardship associated with this pandemic.

Sheriff DuMond reported that on Thursday, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released a public alert to be on the lookout for phone calls and email phishing attempts about the Coronavirus, or COVID-19, that can lead to financial loss, tax-related fraud and identity theft.

Sheriff DuMond commented: “The IRS isn’t going to call you and ask you to verify or provide your financial information so you can get an economic impact payment or receive your tax refund faster. You will not receive surprise emails, text messages, website and social media messages from the IRS. I caution you not to open them; do not click on attachments or open any attached links that you may receive from a source that appears to come from the IRS.”

“History has shown that criminals take advantage of every opportunity to prey on unsuspecting victims, especially when a group of people is vulnerable or in a state of need. While you are waiting to receive your economic impact payment (a/k/a Coronavirus Stimulus Check) from the IRS, criminals are working every angle they can think of so they can get their hands on it. In most cases, the IRS will deposit economic impact payments into the direct deposit account you previously provided on your tax return.”

The IRS is reminding taxpayers that scammers may:

· Emphasize the words “Stimulus Check” or “Stimulus Payment”. The official term is economic impact payment.

· Ask the taxpayer to sign over their economic impact payment check to them.

· Ask by phone, email, text or social media for verification of personal and/or banking information saying that the information is needed to receive or speed up their economic impact payment.

· Suggest that they can get a tax refund or economic impact payment faster by working on the taxpayer’s behalf. This scam could be conducted by social media or even in person.

· Mail the taxpayer a bogus check, perhaps in an odd amount, then tell the taxpayer to call a number or verify information online in order to cash it.

Those who receive unsolicited emails, text messages or social media attempts to gather information that appear to be from either the IRS or an organization closely linked to the IRS, such as the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), should forward it to phishing@irs.gov.

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