Bloomberg Tax
July 16, 2020, 3:53 PM

Virus Relief Check Scams Added to IRS List of Major Fraud Risks

Faris Bseiso

The IRS is warning again of fraud related to virus relief checks as it updated its annual list of major tax scams.

The virus relief checks created in the CARES Act (Public Law 116-136), totaling $1,200 for individuals, were added to the agency’s “Dirty Dozen” list this year. The IRS has delivered hundreds of millions of the payments, and the potential for scammers trying to steal the payments has put the agency and lawmakers like Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) on high alert.

  • “Tax scams tend to rise during tax season or during times of crisis, and scam artists are using pandemic to try stealing money and information from honest taxpayers,” IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said in a statement.
  • The IRS warned this spring that fraudsters may try to steal the checks using strategies to steal tax refunds, like posing as agency officials. Former IRS commissioner Mark Everson called it a potential “feeding frenzy” for scammers.
  • Other scams on the list include fake charities, fraudsters impersonating the IRS over the phone, and social media scams.

To contact the reporter on this story: Faris Bseiso in Washington at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Patrick Ambrosio at; Colleen Murphy at