Michigan AG warns of fake IRS email scam: How to protect yourself

FILE - This May 18, 2021, photo shows a woman typing on a laptop on a train in New Jersey. Major websites were down for Thursday in what appeared to be a brief but widespread outage. Major websites were down for Thursday, July 22, in what appeared to be a brief but widespread outage. (AP Photo/Jenny Kane) (Jenny Kane, Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel issued a consumer alert about fake IRS emails after the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued an alert.

Late last month, the FTC warned consumers of an email offering an Economic Impact Payment (EIP) if the recipient clicks a link. Clicking it creates an opportunity for a scammer to steal the person’s identity.

“If you receive a text, email or phone call from someone claiming to be from the government with a check for you – do not fall for it,” Nessel said. “These scams will likely ask you for your bank account information or other personal information that can then be used to steal your identity.”

The Department of Attorney General provides a library of resources for consumers to review anytime on a variety of topics.

Your connection to consumer protection is just a click or phone call away. Consumer complaints can be filed online at the Attorney General’s website, or by calling 877-765-8388.

More from the FTC:

Here are ways to avoid this scam:

  • Know that the government will never call, text, email, or contact you on social media saying you owe money, or to offer help getting a third Economic Impact Payment (EIP). If you get a message with a link from someone claiming to be from the IRS or another government agency, don’t click on it. It’s a scam. Scammers will often send fake links to websites or use bogus email addresses and phone numbers that seem to be from the government. Your best bet is to visit the IRS’s website directly for trustworthy information on EIP payments.
  • Say no to anyone who contacts you, claiming to be from a government agency and asking for personal or financial information, or for payment in cash, gift cards, wire transfers, or cryptocurrency. Whether they contact you by phone, text, email, on social media, or show up in person, don’t share your Social Security, Medicare ID, driver’s license, bank account, or credit card numbers. And know that the government would never ask you to pay to get financial help.
  • Report government impersonators to ReportFraud.ftc.gov. Your report makes a difference. Reports like yours help us investigate, bring law enforcement cases, and alert people about what frauds to be on the lookout for so they can protect themselves, their friends, and family.

About the Author:

Ken Haddad is the digital special projects manager for WDIV / ClickOnDetroit.com. He also authors the Morning Report Newsletter and various other newsletters. He's been with WDIV since 2013.