Stimulus checks: Dirty dozen tax scams

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**For other types of scams, watch below.

(WJW) — The IRS this week began its 2021 “Dirty Dozen” warning list, and it includes many pandemic-related scams, including economic stimulus payment thefts.

The list includes 12 schemes and scams, separated into four categories: pandemic-related scams, personal information cons, ruses focusing on unsuspecting victims and schemes that persuade taxpayers into unscrupulous actions.

Items on the list will be announced over the next few days.

“We continue to see scam artists use the pandemic to steal money and information from honest taxpayers in a time of crisis,” IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said in a press release. “We provide this list to alert taxpayers about common scams that fraudsters use against their victims. At the IRS, we are dedicated to stopping these criminals, but it’s up to all of us to remain vigilant to protect ourselves and our families.”

The IRS said a continuing threat is from identity thieves who try to steal Economic Impact Payments. They say taxpayers should watch out for the following signs of a scam:

  • Any text messages, random incoming phone calls or emails inquiring about bank account information or requesting recipients to click a link or verify data should be considered suspicious and deleted without opening.
  • Be alert to mailbox theft. Frequently check mail and report suspected mail losses to Postal Inspectors.
  • Don’t fall for stimulus check scams. The IRS won’t initiate contact by phone, email, text or social media asking for Social Security numbers or other personal or financial information related to Economic Impact Payments.

Another pandemic-related scam is related to unemployment. Scammers have taken advantage of the pandemic by filing fraudulent claims for unemployment compensation using stolen personal information of individuals who had not filed claims.

Payments on the claims went to the identity thieves.

Taxpayers should watch for a Form 1099-G reporting unemployment compensation that they didn’t receive, according to the IRS.

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