Avoid Elevated Risks of Fraud and Other Financial Scams Related to COVID-19 by Rick D. Bazzani, CPA

Posted on June 26, 2020 by Rick Bazzani

The COVID-19 pandemic has not slowed the pace of financial crimes targeting taxpayers. In fact, the IRS Criminal Investigation division (CI) has noted an increase in coronavirus-related scams seeking to steal taxpayers’ money and personal information. Reducing your risks of falling victim to these schemes requires you to take precautionary measures to secure your data and recognize the tell-tale signs of a potential scam.

Some of the more common financial scams identified by CI include the use of COVID-19 Economic Impact Payments to steal personal information and money, soliciting donations for fake charities, and offering taxpayers opportunities to invest early in bogus companies that purport to be working on a vaccine. In addition, CI has seen a wide range of scams related to sales of fake at-home test kits, cures, vaccines, pills and personal protective equipment (PPE) that are never delivered. In many instances, scammers use emails, letters, texts and links to create these phishing schemes and scare taxpayers into sharing their personally identifying information or financial account information.

To protect yourself from these financial frauds and identity theft, the IRS reminds you to take the following steps:

Coronavirus-related (COVID-19) scams should be reported to the National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) at 1-866-720-5721 or to the IRS at If you are a victim of Economic Impact Payments fraud or theft, you can make a report to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) TIPS.TIGTA.GOV.

About the Author: Rick D. Bazzani, CPA, is a senior manager in the Tax Services practice of Berkowitz Pollack Brant Advisors + CPAs, where he provides individuals and business owners with a broad range of tax-efficient estate, trust and gift-planning services.  He can be reached in the CPA firm’s Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., office at (954) 712-7000 or at