Coronavirus: Scams and Fraud Attempts
Updated: May 12, 2020
During these difficult financial times, it is critical that we all stay alert to the scams and tactics targeting us and our loved ones.
Several federal agencies have provided resources online on how to avoid scams. The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) created an online portal to report IRS coronavirus related scams. You may also report Internal Revenue Service (IRS) COVID-19 related scams via telephone at (800)366-4484.
In the interim, there are several things you should remember to protect yourself:
- The IRS will generally first contact people by mail, not by phone, about tax-related matters.
- If the IRS does contact you by telephone, they will not insist on any pre-payment.
- The IRS will NEVER request personal or financial information by e-mail, text letter, or social media.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) also developed processes for reporting coronavirus related scams:
- You may report an SBA coronavirus related scam online here or via telephone at (800)767-0385.
- Recipients of SBA Coronavirus relief may find tips on avoiding scams online.
In a previous newsletter, I also provided tips and guidance about scams targeting COVID-19 tests and donations. Please be mindful, vigilant, and aware.
Updated: March 30, 2020
Unfortunately, there are some criminals who use these trying times to target individuals. The Federal Trade Commission provides guidance on how to identify and protect yourselves:
- Hang up on robocalls, and do not press any numbers.
- Ignore online offers for vaccinations and home test kits.
- Fact-check all information and ensure it is from a trusted source.
- Know from whom you are buying products and supplies.
- Do not respond to text and emails about checks from the government.
- Do not click on links from sources you do not know.
- Check the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website for updates; do not respond to emails from the CDC and/or World Health Organization (WHO)
- Do your homework before donating
You may report a scam or other consumer problems here.