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BBB warns of Scam where Government Imposters pose as IRS to steal personal Identification Information

Better Business Bureau - BBBNashville, TN – The Better Business Bureau (BBB) Serving Middle Tennessee and Southern Kentucky is warning of a new wave of Economic Impact Payment scams used to steal personal information.

While to many, the third round of Economic Impact Payments has been old news since March of 2021. However, some are reporting receiving fake emails and texts about tracking their third round of payments.

How the Scam Works: You get a generic email from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) claiming that your third round of economic impact payment’s status is available.

Scam Alert

The email claims that “have determined that you are eligible to receive a payment” with a button to “submit your application.” Beware! This “application” is a way to phish for personal details and commit identity theft.

When you click the link, you are directed to an application titled “Get My Payment” on a website that looks almost exactly like the IRS website. You are asked to submit your Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) and information like full name and birthdate in the application.

Previously, fake websites have claimed additional funds are available or that the consumer can receive funds immediately once a small “processing fee” is paid with a pre-paid debit card. These are all red flags and should be reported to BBB Scam Tracker.

How to Spot this Scam

  • Stay calm. Resist the urge to act immediately, no matter how dramatic the story is. Scammers try to get people to act before thinking about the situation.
  • Don’t reply directly. Don’t respond to unknown calls, texts, or emails. If you believe the message may be real, find the government agencies’ contact information on the internet and contact them directly.
  • Check for look-alikes. Always check the URL of a link you got unsolicited to ensure it is an official government website. Also, research to see if the government agency or organization that contacted you exists.
  • Do not pay any money for a “free” government grant or program. It is not free if there is a fee involved. A real government agency will not ask for an advanced processing fee. Instead, find out if the agency is legitimate by checking grants.gov.

For more information

Learn more about government grant scams in this BBB tip and for more information about scams related to the coronavirus, see BBB.org/coronavirus.

If you’ve spotted a scam (whether or not you’ve lost money), report it to BBB.org/ScamTracker. Your report can help others avoid falling victim to scams.

 


About BBB of Middle Tennessee and Southern Kentucky

For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands, and charities they can trust. BBB provides objective advice, BBB Business Profiles on more than 5.3 million companies, 11,000 charity reviews, dispute resolution services, alerts, and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. Visit bbb. or for more information.

There are local, independent BBBs across the United States, Canada, and Mexico, including BBB Serving Middle TN and Southern KY, which was founded in 1961 and serves 45 counties in Middle TN and Southern KY. Visit bbb.org for more information.

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