COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH)–The IRS said it’s seen a surge in scams tied to Economic Impact Payments, or stimulus payments.

The agency said it received a record number of complaints about Economic Impact Payment scams in June and July of this year — numbers not seen in more than a decade. More specifically, phishing scams — like emails or text messages that look like legitimate messages from the IRS. The goal is to convince taxpayers to enter personal information or submit a payment, that the scammers then use for their benefit.

The IRS said you are the first line of defense to protect yourself. Here’s what you should know:

  • Be aware of how the IRS communicates. The agency does not send unsolicited texts or emails, does not threaten jail time or lawsuits, and does not demand payments via gift cards or cryptocurrency.
  • If you receive a message, look for grammatical errors or misspellings
  • Never click on a link that is sent to you. Go directly to the source IRS.gov.

If you have received one of these messages or any type of fraudulent message regarding stimulus payments, report it to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.