The years 2020 and 2021 (so far) have been unforgettable years for many, both emotionally and financially. It was also an unforgettable experience for fraudsters …
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This story originally appeared on ValueWalk
The years 2020 and 2021 (so far) have been unforgettable years for many, both emotionally and financially. It was an unforgettable year for cheaters too, but in a different way. Although business was in decline, the distribution of coronavirus stimulus checks gave scammers many opportunities to conduct scams.
Hedge fund letters, conferences and more in the first quarter of 2021
Coronavirus stimulus checks related to fraud are on the rise
The IRS created its “Dirty Dozen” 2021 tax fraud warning list on Tuesday. This list contains several scams related to theft of stimulus payments.
This year's list divides the twelve scams into four categories. These categories are: Personal Information Fraud, Systems That Induce Unscrupulous Activities, Pandemic-Related Fraud, and Tricks That Target Unsuspecting Victims. According to the agency, she will be describing the items on the list in detail over the next few days.
However, the agency warned that scammers continue to see the risk of defrauding users of their personal information in order to steal Economic Impact Payments.
"We continue to see fraudsters using the pandemic to steal money and information from honest taxpayers in times of crisis," IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said in a statement.
Aside from the theft of Economic Impact Payments, another pandemic-related fraud that fell for many was related to unemployment. Fraudsters filled out fraudulent unemployment benefit claims with stolen personal information from people who did not submit the claims.
To protect yourself from unemployment-related scams, the agency recommends looking out for Form 1099-G.
Tips for detecting fraud
The IRS has also developed tips to help users spot or look out for scams.
According to the IRS, people shouldn't click a link or check any data from text messages, phone calls, or emails asking for bank account information. In addition, people should not open attachments to such emails. The IRS requires that individuals delete such messages and emails.
The IRS also warns people to watch out for mailbox theft and to report suspected mail theft to postal inspectors.
Additionally, the agency states that it will not contact anyone by phone, text message, email, or social media to ask for personal or financial information. The agency also advises that taxpayers must always visit the IRS official website for refunds, payments, and other tax information.
For additional protection, the authority informs that it has made its identity protection PIN (IP-PIN) program available to all taxpayers. Previously, this protection was only available to victims of identity theft or certain taxpayers.
The IP PIN is a six-digit code known only to the IRS and taxpayers. This prevents fraudsters from filing fraudulent tax returns using the taxpayer's personal information. If an electronic return does not contain the correct IP PIN, it will be rejected. Paper returns, on the other hand, are subject to "additional fraud screening," says the IRS.