The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is warning people to not click on the link if they receive a text out of the blue that promises a $1,200 stimulus check is waiting for them because it’s almost assuredly a phishing scam.
Despite the fact that in October President Donald Trump may or may not have promised another coronavirus-related stimulus check is on the way to American citizens, nothing has actually been finalized or put into action, says the IRS.
“Criminals are relentlessly using COVID-19 and Economic Impact Payments as cover to try to trick taxpayers out of their money or identities,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “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.”
The scam text message states: “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 …” The text includes a link to a fake phishing web address.
This fake phishing URL, which appears to come from a state agency or relief organization, takes recipients to a fraudulent website that impersonates the IRS.gov Get My Payment website. Individuals who visit the fraudulent website and then enter their personal and financial account information will have their information collected by these scammers.
The IRS added that neither it nor any state agencies will ever text taxpayers asking for bank account information.
They also suggested taking a screen shot of the text message if you receive one and including it in an email to email@example.com with the following information: date/time/timezone you received the text message, the number that appeared on your Caller ID, and the number that received the text message.