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U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman and Special Agent in Charge of the IRS-CI Cincinnati Field Office, Bryant Jackson, warned Ohioans today to be alert for possible scams related to upcoming economic impact payments made during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Everyone should expect that scammers will try to take advantage of this crisis and the upcoming economic impact payments,” said U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman. “They will try to find a way to get recipients to divulge personal information such as a Social Security number or bank account information. Alternatively, fraudsters may try to pressure recipients into making phony payments or otherwise relinquishing funds. We are strongly encouraging everyone to be on high alert, both before and after the payments arrive, for potential scams.”
“Ruthless criminals will take this opportunity to prey upon our fears in order to try and line their own pockets by stealing your money or your personal information,” said Bryant Jackson, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, Cincinnati Field Office.
The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service announced this week that COVID-19 economic impact payments will begin in the next three weeks. For many Americans, this will be done through direct deposit into their bank account. For the unbanked, elderly or other groups that have traditionally seen receive tax refunds via paper check, economic impact payments will be received similarly.
United States Attorney Herdman and Special Agent in Charge Jackson offer the following information and tips to spot a scam and understand how the COVID-19 related economic impact payments will be issued.
Report fraud related to the COVID-19 crisis to the National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) hotline at 1-866-720-5721 or email tips to the United States Attorney’s Office at USAOHN.COVID19@usdoj.gov
For more information, visit the IRS website at www.irs.gov/coronavirus.