The Internal Revenue Services criminal investigation division has received a record number of reports this week concerning stimulus check scams in June and July.
According to the agency, scammers are trying to copy the authentic IRS communication to persuade taxpayers to enter their personal information or submit payments.
“Even though taxpayers have received multiple rounds of Economic Impact Payments, we saw phishing scams surge this summer,” Jim Lee, chief of the criminal investigation division, said in a news release, according to the Hill.
“The number of reported scam attempts reached levels we haven’t seen in more than a decade,” Lee continued. “More than ever, it is important for taxpayers to continue to protect their personal information and not fall victim to these scams.”
Victims have received text messages telling them that they are qualified for a “stimulus payment” and asking them to submit and complete an online form where they have to input needed information to claim their checks. Scammers are also said to be sending out emails saying that the IRS has considered them eligible for a direct payment.
The IRS reiterated on Monday that the agency does not send taxpayers unsolicited text messages or emails and it does not threaten people with jail time or lawsuits or demand payment via gift cards or cryptocurrency.
People who did receive such unwanted emails or text messages that look like they came from IRS should forward the message to [email protected]. Taxpayers can also report any incident of theft of their stimulus payments to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.
Samples of fake text messages and emails are posted on the agency’s website.
The Biden administration has so far distributed three rounds of stimulus checks since the beginning of the pandemic. The recent was the relief law that the president signed in March.