The Oregon Department of Revenue is warning taxpayers of calls and email phishing attempts related to the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, pandemic and federal government relief payments. These scams can lead to tax-related fraud and identity theft.
Taxpayers should watch not only for emails but text messages, websites, and social media attempts that request money or personal information.
“Oregon taxpayers should take extra precaution to guard their personal information from these unscrupulous scam attempts,” said Oregon Department of Revenue Director Nia Ray. “Most people who qualify to receive a stimulus check do not need to sign up, apply, or verify any personal information, online or else where.”
The Oregon Department of Revenue and the IRS remind taxpayers that scammers may:
- Emphasize the words “stimulus check” or “stimulus payment.” The official term is economic impact payment.
- Ask the taxpayer to sign over their economic impact payment check to them.
- Ask by phone, email, text, or social media for verification of personal and/or banking information saying that the information is needed to receive or speed up their economic impact payment.
- Suggest they can get a tax refund or economic impact payment faster by working on the taxpayer’s behalf. This scam could be conducted by social media or even in person.
- Mail the taxpayer a bogus check, perhaps in an odd amount, then tell the taxpayer to call a number or verify information online in order to cash it.
Taxpayers should look out for phishing emails asking them to verify their personal information in order to receive an economic stimulus check from the government. While talk of economic stimulus checks has been in the news cycle, government agencies are not sending unsolicited emails seeking taxpayers’ private information in order to send them money. Phishing emails may also claim to be related to:
- Charitable contributions.
- General financial relief.
- Airline carrier refunds.
- Fake cures and vaccines.
- Fake testing kits.
The IRS doesn't initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages, or social media channels to request personal or financial information. People should be alert to scammers posing as the IRS to steal personal information. The IRS initiates most contacts through regular mail delivered by the United States Postal Service.
Reporting coronavirus-related or other phishing attempts
Those who receive unsolicited emails, text messages, or social media attempts to gather information that appear to be from either the IRS or an organization closely linked to the IRS, such as the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), should forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Taxpayers are encouraged not to engage potential scammers online or on the phone. Learn more about reporting suspected scams by going to the Report Phishing and Online Scams page on IRS.gov.
Official IRS information about the COVID-19 pandemic and economic impact payments can be found on the Coronavirus Tax Relief page on IRS.gov. The page is updated quickly when new information is available.
For more information on taxpayers protecting themselves, or what to do if they’re a victim of identity theft, taxpayers can visit: