Mayor Poe warns of fraudulent calls and emails about stimulus checks

scam alert
scam alert

City of Gainesville Mayor Lauren Poe warned citizens during a recent COVID-19 Telephone Town Hall that a scam has been detected in Alachua County.

“There is a telephone and email scam,” Poe said. “People claiming to be from the Internal Revenue Service IRS are contacting people about where they can deposit their $1,200 stimulus check.

“The IRS does not call individual homes,” Poe said. He urged citizens to reach out to the IRS or the City of Gainesville if someone is contacted by phone and warned against divulging any bank account information over the phone.

“Trying to intercept people’s recovery checks,” he said. 

The Internal Revenue Service also warned citizens about these scams in a statement on April 2nd:

The Internal Revenue Service today urged taxpayers to be on the lookout for a surge of calls and email phishing attempts about the Coronavirus, or COVID-19. These contacts can lead to tax-related fraud and identity theft.

“We urge people to take extra care during this period. The IRS isn’t going to call you asking to verify or provide your financial information so you can get an economic impact payment or your refund faster,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “That also applies to surprise emails that appear to be coming from the IRS. Remember, don’t open them or click on attachments or links. Go to IRS.gov for the most up-to-date information.”

Taxpayers should watch not only for emails but text messages, websites and social media attempts that request money or personal information.

“History has shown that criminals take every opportunity to perpetrate a fraud on unsuspecting victims, especially when a group of people is vulnerable or in a state of need,” said IRS Criminal Investigation Chief Don Fort. “While you are waiting to hear about your economic impact payment, criminals are working hard to trick you into getting their hands on it. The IRS Criminal Investigation Division is working hard to find these scammers and shut them down, but in the meantime, we ask people to remain vigilant.”

For more details about these scams, visit the IRS page here.

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