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IRS investigators warn uptick in COVID-19 scams is coming

12,634 FTC complaints, $8M in fraud losses
IRS officials warn uptick in COVID-19 scams is coming
Posted at 3:45 PM, Apr 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-20 12:06:56-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — The special agent in charge of IRS criminal investigations in Colorado says we need to be ready for an uptick in fraud schemes as stimulus checks start to arrive.

Local IRS officials say fraudsters are asking people to verify their personal information to get their COVID19 stimulus check. This is a scam. The IRS is not calling people about this issue. But the crooks will use your information to steal your money and your identity time and time again. IRS officials warn anyone who is getting a stimulus check is possibly at risk.

"Most the folks that I've seen that are being taken advantage of are acting very quickly because they are worried," said Special Agent In Charge for the Denver field office of IRS Criminal Investigation Andy Tsui.

IRS Special Agent In Charge Tsui leads the criminal investigation office that covers Colorado. He's concerned when it comes to Coronavirus related scams, this is just the beginning.

Federal investigators are looking into more than 12,000 Coronavirus related scam complaints that have cost Americans more than $8 Million.

"We're seeing these types of frauds and schemes coming from like every angle," said Tsui.

Special Agent In Charge Tsui is encouraging Colorado taxpayers to safeguard their personal information and to report any suspicious activity.

"There is no inability to look into these type of frauds. My office is looking at one right now that involves COVID-19 so there is definitely the resources and the determination to do so," said Tsui.

He expects fraudsters will really try to hit us hard during this waiting period for COVID-19 stimulus checks and even after they start to arrive.

"The fact that certain things aren't set yet gives criminals the ability to jump in there ahead of the official statements and the official timelines and take advantage of folks ahead of time. But certainly, between now and when these payments start rolling out there is a high level of vulnerability," said Tsui.

If you believe you've been targeted by a COVID-19 related scam you can contact federal investigators directly and also report it to the Colorado State Attorney General's Office to help investigators track down the criminals.

Email for Local IRS Criminal Investigation Field Office (Colorado, Idaho, Montana, & Wyoming): DenverFieldOffice@ci.irs.gov

General Fraud Reporting, which also reaches the United States Attorney's Office for the District of Colorado National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) hotline (1-866-720-5721) or by emailing the NCDF at disaster@leo.gov

To report COVID-19 scams or any other kinds of fraud to the Colorado Attorney General's Office visit: https://stopfraudcolorado.gov/