Since Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act also known as the CARES Act, taxpayers have been expecting relief in the form of stimulus checks. Comptroller Peter Franchot today issued a statement warning the public of scammers attempting to exploit the COVID-19 crisis and gain taxpayer financial information by pretending it is needed to process stimulus checks. The Comptroller’s Office reminds taxpayers not to share personal information online or over the phone.
From the press release:
Comptroller Peter Franchot today warns Marylanders not to fall victim to scammers trying to steal your stimulus check.
These swindlers are making phone calls, sending text messages and phishing emails to individuals and tax preparers to obtain personal information to take money needed for survival during these unprecedented times. They are using language such as “in order to receive your/your client’s stimulus payment via direct deposit, we need you to confirm the banking information” and they are making phone calls or directing victims to click on a link that takes them to a website to enter personal banking information. Do not fall prey to such scams.
In recent days, there has been an uptick in both individuals and tax preparers being targeted.
“Do not share any personal information over the phone, via text message or email,” Comptroller Franchot said. “My agency is committed to protecting Maryland taxpayers and remains vigilant for phone, texting and email phishing scams that seek to steal people’s private financial information. These types of crimes can lead to fraudulent tax returns, identity theft and can devastate the victims’ financial well-being, especially during this time when people are counting on those checks to survive.”
The agency is working with the Internal Revenue Service to identify the scams and will alert citizens as they occur.
The Comptroller reminds Marylanders that the IRS and the Maryland Comptroller’s Office will not call, text, or email you to verify your banking information. If you think you are being targeted, the Comptroller’s Office remains available to assist taxpayers via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.