March 26, 2024

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – IRS criminal investigators are warning Americans to watch out for COVID-19 payment scams.

“(The government) has put out a lot of mechanisms to help people financially through the pandemic and now those mechanisms are being exploded by criminals,” said IRS Special Agent in Charge Mark Pearson.

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Pearson said with each round of federal stimulus checks has come a spike in reported scams.

“The volume is unbelievable,” he said. “This is historically the greatest amount of fraud we’ve ever seen.”

Here are three new COVID-19 relief scams to look out for:

#1 FTC email scam

Investigators say the scam starts with an email that looks to be from Joe Simons of the Federal Trade Commission.

The email says you’re getting COVID-19 relief money and includes a fake certificate from the Treasury Department.

If you reply, they say you have to pay taxes before you get your money. That should be a red flag.

However, to convince you, they send a fake letter from the IRS.

If you pay, the scammers push it further. They say you now must pay the State Department for a certificate that proves the funds are not related to any terrorist activity.

#2 Stimulus check text scam

The text message says, “You have received a direct deposit of $1,200 (or $600) from COVID-19 TREAS FUND. Further action is required to accept this payment into your account. Continue here to accept this payment (web address)”.

Bogus…

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