Criminals are preying on the vulnerable right now. They have conjured up a new phishing scam of sending text messages out promising a $1,200 stimulus check, but the IRS is warning the public not to click on it. According to the agency, you won’t receive a dime, and they will steal your personal information.
Everyone could use an extra $1,200 right now, and the criminals are taking advantage of the many hardships people are experiencing at this time. The link promises that it will deposit the stimulus check into your bank account; criminals are then collecting the financial and personal information of those that fall for the scam for their own benefits.
The text message people have received reads: “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 …” With two bullets saying time is running out and another that allows people to check their status.
Clicking the link then takes you to a fake IRS website that appears to be the next step of getting your stimulus payment, the agency says. From there, individuals are prompted to enter their personal and financial information.
Let this be a rule of thumb; the IRS never texts or emails the public.
“Criminals are relentlessly using COVID-19 and Economic Impact Payments as cover to try to trick taxpayers out of their money or identities,” IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said in a statement. “This scam is a new twist on those we’ve been seeing much of this year. We urge people to remain alert to these types of scams.”
If you or anyone you know has received one of these texts, you should report it to [email protected] The agency also asks that you send a screenshot along with the day and time you got the text and the phone number it came from.