As a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency, many taxpayers recently learned they may be eligible for an economic impact payment through the CARES Act. While this provides a great deal of relief for those who qualify, financial predators are busy planning to use the vulnerability of taxpayers to get their hands on sensitive information. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has reported a recent surge in scams and phishing attempts pertaining to taxpayers’ economic impact payments, resulting in identity theft or tax-related fraud. Here’s what you need to look out for in the coming weeks as these payments are disbursed.

How to Receive Your Economic Impact Payment

Taxpayers who have previously filed and received their tax refund via direct deposit should expect to receive their payment as normal through direct deposit. Others who have not provided bank information for direct deposit will be able to do so through a secure, online portal on the IRS’s website. For those who have not submitted their banking information, a check will be mailed to the address on file. Retirees who typically aren’t required to file a tax return should remember that no action on their part is needed to receive their $1,200 payment.

If anyone tells you or asks you to do anything outside of the above, you may be at risk of being scammed.

Signs of Being Scammed

Scammers prey on your personal information, so many of them will set up schemes around obtaining your bank account, Social Security number and more. For example, someone may reach out to you pretending to be the IRS or a third party, and wants to input your banking information on your behalf into the IRS’s secure portal so you don’t have to. You could be contacted through:

  • Text messages
  • Email (including links and attachments)
  • Social media
  • Phone calls

It’s important to note the IRS will never call, text or email you to provide your financial information in order to receive your payment or refund quicker. A few red flags to look out for include:

  • Incorrect verbiage – scammers may use verbiage, such as “stimulus check” or “stimulus payment” instead of economic impact payment.
  • Being asked to sign your economic impact payment over to anyone.
  • Verifying personal or banking information as a means to speed up the process of receiving your payment.
  • Receiving a check in the mail for an incorrect amount and being asked to verify information in order to cash it.

Reporting a Potential Scam

With something as sensitive as your banking information, it’s better to stay safe than sorry. If you feel as if someone is attempting to target you, immediately end the communication and report it to the IRS at

During this time of uncertainty, Doeren Mayhew’s tax advisors are here to help. If you are wondering if you qualify for the economic impact payment, contact us today.