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Scammers using stimulus payment and tax credit hoping to lure victims

IRS warning and tips for safety
Scammers online
Posted at 12:34 PM, Sep 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-06 20:38:40-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Brian Watson with the Tucson Internal Revenue Service says phishing scams are number one on their scam list and now they’re on the rise.

Some of the scams are convincing, all it takes is a simple click on a link or text message and your personal information is at risk, Watson says.

"Nationwide we’re seeing the second highest number of complaints related to emails. Phishing emails have a lot of typos, grammatical errors and a lot of times they’re written by people in other countries,” Watson said.

Thieves are targeting Arizonans with fake guarantees of economic impact and child tax credit payments. Scammers are reaching victims of all ages by email and text.

"It's very tempting you’re sitting at home you get a text message that says you’re now eligible for an economic impact payment, and if you’re one of those people who didn’t get the third round you might be tempted to click on that link,” Watson said.

Thieves can also steal your personal information from your cell phone and computer.

“I’ve seen a lot of young people, teenagers and people in their 20s being very quick to click on links on their phone thinking it's safe. They are just as likely to get scammed by the criminals as anyone else,” Watson said.

The messages come from scammers with promises of fast-tracking payments, but there are ways to find out if an email is legit. In some cases, they want victims to pay fees.

“If you hover with your mouse over the hyperlink, you will see it goes to a long website that’s a huge sign that it’s a complete scam,” Watson said.

IRS officials say double check with the agency directly if you have questions about your case.

"The scammers wouldn’t do this if it didn’t work. They know that there are people out there who will click on links, respond to text messages, and provide information,” Watson said.

At the end of the day, the IRS will never send emails and text messages, threaten jail, lawsuits or demand payments on gift cards and cryptocurrency, officials say the agency will only send letters in the mail.

If you get one of the unwanted messages, forward it to the IRS by emailing phishing@irs.gov

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