Senators Ask IRS to Up Scam Prevention, Citing COVID-19 Fraud Concerns

Three Democratic senators wrote to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on April 24 urging the agency to implement past Government Accountability Office (GAO) recommendations to protect Americans from COVID-19 coronavirus fraud.

Sens. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., Tom Carper, D-Del., and Ron Wyden, D-Ore., expressed concern about fraud and identity theft related to COVID-19 stimulus payments. While the IRS warned Americans earlier this month to be vigilant about scams and phishing attacks concerning the payments, the senators are requesting that IRS complete past fraud-related GAO recommendations “as soon as possible.”

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“Properly authenticating Americans’ information is critical to ensuring that stimulus payments are not stolen from their intended recipients,” the senators said. They wrote that the 11 recommendations in the June 2018 GAO report that IRS has committed to implementing will help reduce the risks of identity theft and fraud. The senators also acknowledged that IRS is facing “extraordinary demands” at this time.

The senators are also asking IRS to implement fraud prevention in the non-filers portal where Americans who did not file a tax return can see stimulus check payment information. They recommended partnering with the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communications Commission “to educate Americans about preventing stimulus payment-specific fraud and to share information on identifying, reporting, and investigating stimulus payment-specific fraud.”

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