IRS agent warns of COVID-19 related scams

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(NEWS10)- Law enforcement has been warning the public about several scams during the pandemic. NEWS10 has reported about the recent unemployment benefits scheme, but it’s just one of many that are out there.

Acting Special Agent In Charge Ramsey Covington is with the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation Boston Field Office. He spoke with NEWS10’s Anya Tucker. He told Anya that he is making it a priority to educate the public about tax scams. One of his biggest concerns?

COVID-19 related schemes cooked up by bad actors offering phony at-home tests, cures, and vaccines.

“They really want your personal information. Because once they get your social security number and your name and date of birth they can pose as you. And receive your funds from tax return fraud, Covid fraud, Medicare fraud, Medicaid fraud. And another thing we are seeing is huge unemployment fraud,” said Covington.

The Capital Region is seeing a rise in unemployment fraud. It’s another way for schemers to cash in on previously stolen personal information.

The victims only realize what’s happened after receiving a letter from the Department of Labor saying they received benefits they never filed for.

“They are going to use your name, your social security number. There’s going to be a slight change here. A new address, bank account, And [they] say, ‘Hey, send my money here.”

He says the IRS has now put in place tigher restrictions to put a stop on future fraudsters actions.

Covington adds to be wary of solicitations for donations too. He says one red flag, is if you are solicited online or through social media.

Covington says they are making arrest and stresses that victims should report the fraud to the IRS.

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