Recently, the Internal Revenue Service reached out to small businesses to help urge taxpayers to be cautious of coronavirus-related scams that may soon come through their phone or email accounts. Responding to these phishing attempts will often lead to tax-related fraud and identity theft. Unfortunately, the most at-risk segments of the population for these scams are elderly individuals and those that are the most at need during this uncertain period.
Small businesses may also be at risk in the upcoming months as scammers look for new ways to take advantage of the ongoing crisis. While many small businesses are waiting to hear about whether or not they are eligible for bridge loans or stimulus-related funding, scammers are developing new ways to trick business owners into handing it over to them. Some of the potential signs that you are dealing with a scammer according to the IRS include:
- An emphasis on the word “Stimulus Check” or “Stimulus Payment.” The official term is economic impact payment.
- Asking the taxpayer to sign over their impact payment check to them.
- Requesting banking information by phone, email, text or social media and implying that the information is needed to “speed up” the disbursement of an economic impact payment.
- Suggesting that a tax refund or economic payment will be disbursed faster with their assistance on the taxpayer’s behalf.
- Sending a bogus check in an odd amount and telling the taxpayer to call a number or verify the information online before they can cash it.
How Can You Report Coronavirus-Related Phishing Attempts?
Anyone who receives a coronavirus-related phishing attempt that appears to come from the IRS, or another closely linked organization, such as the EFTPS, should forward that information for remediation. For more information about how you can report suspected phishing scams, you are encouraged to visit the Report Phishing and Online Scams page on IRS.gov. Other official information about the COVID-19 pandemic or economic impact payments are also available on the Coronavirus Tax Relief page.
As a partner that small businesses can trust, Skynet Solutions continues to work with our clients throughout the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic to ensure they have the resources and information needed to navigate this turbulent period. If you are ready to expand your web presence, refresh your website design or enhance your digital marketing, we are here to help. You can fill out our online contact form on our website or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn!