Around tax season, it’s important for everyone to remain vigilant with protecting personal data because of an increasing number of IRS scams nationally. By learning these warning signs now, you can avoid becoming the next victim.
Email Phishing Scam
Recently, the IRS has been alerted to a new email phishing scam. Taxpayers have been receiving emails that appear to be from the IRS but instead include a link to a bogus web site that resembles the official IRS site. The email typically tells the recipient to update their IRS e-file immediately. The IRS directs everyone to not respond to these types of emails nor click on their links. If you receive any of these phishing emails, you should forward them to the IRS at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit the IRS’ Report Phishing web page for more information.
As a rule, the IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information. In addition, clicking on attachments or links from a phishing email may download a malicious computer virus.
Telephone IRS Scams
In IRS scams across the country, con artists are now scamming taxpayers by impersonating the IRS on the phone. These scammers claim to be IRS employees by using fake names and bogus IRS identification badge numbers. The con artists have been known to research their targets and alter their caller ID number to appear like the IRS is calling you.
Unsuspecting victims are informed of debts to the IRS that must be settled immediately through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. In these IRS scams, victims, often recent immigrants, are threatened with arrest and deportation.
In other cases, scammers try to trick victims into revealing personal information by telling them they are due a refund from the IRS.
According to the IRS, the agency “1) call to demand immediate payment, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill; 2) demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe; 3) require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card; 4) ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone; or 5) threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.”
Tax Preparer Phishing Scam
Also on our IRS scams to watch out for is the tax preparer phishing scam. Unsuspecting tax professionals have received a bogus email that asks them to update their IRS e-services portal information and Electronic Filing Identification Numbers. However, the links that are sent in the bogus email are likely a phishing scheme designed to capture a username and password.
The IRS asserts that this email was not generated by the IRS e-services program. To combat identity theft, the IRS suggests avoiding clicking on the links in the email and disregarding its contents.