WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF/WFXR) — Criminals are using COVID-19 Economic Impact Payments (EIP) as cover for schemes to steal personal information and money.
In these trying times, that’s when the scavengers come out. A special agent stationed in Washington D.C. says fraud is at its highest, and financial information is at its most vulnerable.
There are bogus companies saying they have a cure for COVID-19 and others asking for you to invest in creating a vaccine. If they reach out to you, don’t buy it.
In addition, officials says even fake charities are being set up to scam people.
The financial vulnerability being felt throughout the nation has created groups founded on compassion, as well as groups forged with selfish intent, showing crime rates similar to those seen in the wake of other national crises.
The scams run the gamut right now. It reminds me also like 9/11. There were lots of scams that came as a result. There’s a lot of money out there. There’s a lot of programs that are set up to help those that are truly in need of financial help, you’re going to see fraud.Kelly Jackson, Special Agent for Washington D.C. field office of IRS Criminal Investigation
With regard to the EIP, the IRS does not send emails, texts, or calls, so if you receive one of those claiming to come from the IRS, you know it’s fake.
Jackson encourages you become your own investigator: if a company sounds fishy, look it up. You can report COVID-19 fraud to the National Center for Disaster Fraud.
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