April 9, 2020 By Christian Murray
Congresswoman Grace Meng is warning Queens residents to be aware of scammers who are seeking to take advantage of consumers during the coronavirus outbreak.
The scams include everything from bogus vaccination and home test kits to robocalls offering insurance and work-at-home schemes, she said.
Among the most noted scams to be on the lookout for are those in which criminals attempt to steal people’s COVID-19 relief payments, the funds consisting of up to $1,200 per adult and $500 per child that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is in the process of sending out to taxpayers.
The COVID-19 relief payments will in most cases be deposited into the account that taxpayers previously provided on their tax returns. However, taxpayers who have previously filed but did not provide direct deposit information to the IRS will be able to provide their banking information online to a newly designed secure portal on IRS.gov in mid-April.
Meng said that people must make sure not to be tricked into provide their direct deposit or other banking information for others to input on their behalf into the secure portal.
“It is unconscionable that in the middle of a public health crisis, there are those who prey on unsuspecting individuals, and attempt to steal the money they need during this pandemic,” Meng said.
“If you receive a call regarding your economic impact payment, hang-up. If you receive an email or text, do not reply, and do not click on attachments and links. Report it to law enforcement and the IRS. The IRS will never contact you asking for any kind of personal information.”
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 [email protected].