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Scammers are sending fake emails about Economic Impact Payments

Scammers are impersonating the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and sending fake emails saying that you can get a third Economic Impact Payment (EIP), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warns.

There’s a fake IRS email that keeps popping into people’s inboxes. It claims you are eligible for the third EIP and asks you to click on a link that lets you “access the form for your additional information” and “get help” with the application.

The link, FTC warns, is malicious. If you click on it, a scammer might steal your money and personal information to commit identity theft.

It’s yet another version of the classic government impersonator scam, FTC said.

Scammers are endlessly impersonating government institutions, as well as well-known and trusted brands. An impersonation attack is a common form of phishing - it’s also sometimes referred to as “deceptive phishing.” Malicious actors can impersonate users, domains, and brands. Whatever the impersonation is, the idea is to convince a victim to give up information or data that they would not normally feel comfortable releasing.

When it comes to brands, here are the most impersonated ones, according to Check Point. Just be aware, this is not a limited list.

1. Microsoft (related to 45% of all brand phishing attempts globally)

2. DHL (26%)

3. Amazon (11%)

4. Bestbuy (4%)

5. Google (3%)

6. LinkedIn (3%)

7. Dropbox (1%)

8. Chase (1%)

9. Apple (1%)

10. PayPal (0.5%)

How to avoid scam

FTC details 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 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.

FTC also asks you to report government impersonators to ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

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