This week, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a Scam Alert to consumers notifying them that scammers are impersonating employees of the IRS promising a third Economic Impact Payment if they access forms through a link in an email or over the telephone.
The IRS warns consumers that governmental agencies, including the IRS, never call or email individuals, and that the links in emails can redirect the user to a malicious website or contain malicious malware themselves. The FTC Alert states, “If you get a message with a link from someone claiming to be from the IRS or another government agency, don’t click on it. It’s a scam. Scammers will often send fake links to websites or use bogus email addresses and phone numbers that seem to be from the government.”
Scammers also try to use social media platforms for the same purpose – to scam users out of money or personal information. The FTC states:
Say no to anyone who contacts you, claiming to be from a government agency and asking for personal or financial information, or for payment in cash, gift cards, wire transfers, or cryptocurrency. Whether they contact you by phone, text, email, on social media, or show up in person, don’t share your Social Security, Medicare ID, driver’s license, bank account, or credit card numbers. And know that the government would never ask you to pay to get financial help.
The bottom line is that if you are eligible for money from the federal government, you will be notified by mail. If you are not eligible, you will not receive any such communication. No matter what, the government will not call you or email you asking you for money or your personal information.