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IRS warns against COVID-19 fraud, other financial schemes

Posted April 6, 2020 | Last updated June 11, 2020

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The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) reminds taxpayers to guard against tax fraud and other financial scams related to COVID-19.

In the last few months, the IRS Criminal Investigation Division has seen a variety of Economic Impact Payment scams and other financial schemes looking to take advantage of unsuspecting taxpayers. Investigators continue to work with law enforcement agencies domestically and abroad to educate taxpayers about these scams and investigate the criminals perpetrating them during this challenging time.

Criminals are continuing to use the COVID-19 Economic Impact Payments as cover for schemes to steal personal information and money. Scams related to COVID-19 are not limited to stealing Economic Impact Payments from taxpayers, however. The IRS has already seen scams related to the organized selling of fake at-home test kits, offers to sell fake cures, vaccines, pills and advice on unproven treatments for COVID-19.

Other scams purport to sell large quantities of medical supplies through the creation of fake shops, websites, social media accounts and email addresses where the criminal fails to deliver promised supplies after receiving funds.

Other COVID-19 related scams involve setting up fake charities soliciting donations for individuals, groups and areas affected by the disease. Some criminals are offering opportunities to invest early in companies working on a vaccine for the disease promising that the “company” will dramatically increase in value as a result. These promotions are often styled as “research reports,” make predictions of a specific “target price,” and relate to microcap stocks, or low-priced stocks issued by the smallest of companies with limited publicly-available information.

IRS investigators have also seen a tremendous increase in phishing schemes using emails, letters, texts and links. These phishing schemes are using keywords such as “Corona Virus,” “COVID-19” and “Stimulus” in varying ways. These schemes are blasted to large numbers of people known by the bad actors in an effort to get personally-identifying information or financial account information to include account numbers and passwords. Most of these new schemes are actively playing on the fear and unknown of the virus and the stimulus payments.

Report coronavirus-related scams to the National Center for Disaster Fraud hotline at 866-720-5721

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AllianceAirport Authority: 1 p.m. Aug. 18, 2020; City Council Chambers, 2nd Floor, City Hall, 200 Texas St.
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Central City Local Government Corporation: 1 p.m. Aug. 18, 2020; City Council Chambers, 2nd Floor, City Hall, 200 Texas St.
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Fort Worth Local Development Corporation: 1 p.m. Aug. 18, 2020; City Council Chambers, 2nd Floor, City Hall, 200 Texas St.
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Fort Worth Crime Control and Prevention District Board of Directors Quarterly Meeting: 2 p.m. Aug. 18, 2020; City Council Chambers, 2nd Floor, City Hall, 200 Texas St.
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Crime Control Prevention District Public Hearing: 2 p.m. Aug. 18, 2020; City Hall, 200 Texas St.

Commercial and Residential Boards of Adjustment Public Hearing: 9 a.m. Aug. 19, 2020; WebEx.
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Appeal of Promotional Bypass of Kenyon Willingham: 9 a.m. Aug. 19, 2020; Bob Bolen Public Safety Complex Classroom 1134, 505 W. Felix St.
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Get Your Business on Google Search & Maps: 2 p.m. Aug. 19, 2020; Online.
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Grow With Google: Get Your Local Business on Google Search and Maps: 2 p.m. Aug. 19, 2020; Online.
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District 5 Town Hall - 2021 Budget: 6:30 p.m. Aug. 19, 2020; City Hall, 200 Texas St.
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District 8 Town Hall - 2021 Budget: 6:30 p.m. Aug. 19, 2020; City Hall, 200 Texas St.
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Budget Workshop: Aug. 20, 2020; City Council Conference Room 290, 2nd Floor, City Hall, 200 Texas St.
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Appeal of Promotional Bypass of Kenyon Willingham: 9 a.m. Aug. 20, 2020; Bob Bolen Public Safety Complex Classroom 1134, 505 W Felix St.
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Crime-Free Multi-Housing Workshop: 9 a.m. Aug. 20, 2020; East Division Head-Quarters, 1100 Nashville.

Fort Worth Housing Solutions Board of Commissioners Meeting: 5 p.m. Aug. 20, 2020; FWHS Administrative Office, 1201 East 13th St.
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Fort Worth Affordability, Inc.: 5 p.m. Aug. 20, 2020; FWHS Administravtive Office, 1201 East 13th St.
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Cavile Public Facility Corporation: 5 p.m. Aug. 20, 2020; FWHS Administrative Office, 1201 East 13th St.
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Gateway Public Facility Corporation: 5 p.m. Aug. 20, 2020; FWHS Administravtive Office, 1201 East 13th St.
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Chisholm V Corporation: 5 p.m. Aug. 20, 2020; FWHS Administrative Office, 1201 East 13th St.
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Sycamore Housing, Inc.: 5 p.m. Aug. 20, 2020; FWHS Administrative Office, 1201 East 13th St.
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Stallion Pointe Facility Corporation: 5 p.m. Aug. 20, 2020; FWHS Administrative Office, 1201 East 13th St.
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Fair Park Public Facility Corporation: 5 p.m. Aug. 20, 2020; FWHS Administrative Office, 1201 East 13th St.
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Fair Oaks Public Facility Corporation: 5 p.m. Aug. 20, 2020; FWHS Admministrative Office, 1201 East 13th St.
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Fort Worth Public Library Advisory Board Meeting: 6:30 p.m. Aug. 20, 2020; WebEx.
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Budget Workshop: Aug. 21, 2020; City Council Conference Room 290, 2nd Floor, City Hall, 200 Texas St.
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