While people across the country are hoping for news of a second round of economic stimulus checks, fraudsters who exploit the desire for such payments are continuing their scams.
Nearly eight months have passed since the signing of the CARES law, which provided for direct payments for economic impact to help those financially stricken by the COVID 19 pandemic.
Although there was non-partisan enthusiasm among both the public and legislators for another round of checks, a second set was not signed because of a stalemate in the House of Representatives and Senate.
The Internal Revenue Service, which is in charge of distributing the first round of payments, has warned against fraudsters trying to deceive people about the prospect of further payments – and such situations continue to occur.
IRS spokesman Raphael Tulino told NBC San Diego that people have been targeted with fraudulent text messages asking them to provide their bank account details in order to receive a $1,200 payment.
“It’s not our way of doing business by asking you by text message,” Tulino said.
“The IRS does not do business with arbitrary texts.
“Under no circumstances does the IRS send you an SMS, call you, or send you an e-mail out of the blue requesting or threatening something,” Tulino said.
Tulino advised people how to respond to such messages, said they should be ignored and could be reported to the IRS.
Tulino added, “Let it go, ignore things, delete your emails, hang up the phone, delete the text and just keep going.
“They would assume that they could do some bad things with your good name, so be careful.
The IRS had already warned of such scams in June, describing the exploitation of “COVID-19 Economic Impact Payments” as a cover for programs to steal personal information and money.
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Such phishing schemes were seen in emails, texts, letters and websites, the IRS said, adding that they often used keywords such as “corona virus”, “COVID-19” and “stimulus”.
“These schemes are being blown up by a large number of people known to the bad guys in an effort to obtain personal or financial account information in order to obtain account numbers and passwords. Most of these new programs actively play on the fear and the unknown of the virus and the stimulus payments,” the IRS statement said.
Washington Newsday has contacted the IRS for further comments on possible scams.
The news is coming as COVID 19 cases continue to rise worldwide, with the U.S. reporting more than 10.2 million diagnoses according to Johns Hopkins University.
The chart below from Statista shows the number of cases in various states as of November 9.