Tax Fraud Is on the Rise, Take Extra Care to Avoid Phishing Scams

Tax Fraud

The Internal Revenue Service renewed a consumer alert for e-mail schemes (phishing scams) after seeing an approximate 400 percent surge in phishing and malware incidents so far this tax season.

In a press release, the IRS reported:

The Internal Revenue Service renewed a consumer alert for e-mail schemes after seeing an approximate 400 percent surge in phishing and malware incidents so far this tax season.

The emails are designed to trick taxpayers into thinking these are official communications from the IRS or others in the tax industry, including tax software companies…E-mails can seek information related to refunds, filing status, confirming personal information, ordering transcripts and verifying PIN information.

When you click on any of those email links, you’re taken to a site that looks just like an official IRS page but is actually a fraud site asking for your personal information. Those sites might also contain malware. There were over a thousand of these incidents reported to the IRS in January, compared with just 254 that same time last year.

The IRS says it typically doesn’t email taxpayers asking for any personal information, so that’s the biggest red flag right there: simply getting an email from an entity claiming to be the IRS. And here are a few recent email scam subject lines:
  • Numerous variations about people’s tax refund
  • Update your filing details, which can include references to W-2.
  • Confirm your personal information.
  • Get my IP Pin.
  • Get my E-file Pin.
  • Order a transcript.
  • Complete your tax return information.

The IRS says variations of this scam are sent via text, too. It also helps to know the common characteristics of a phone call scam, because scammers will often follow up their calls with an email. They might be able to recite the last four of your Social Security number or even spoof the IRS’s toll-free number on your caller ID. If you think you’ve been sent a scam, forward it to phishing@irs.govand, obviously, don’t click on anything in the email. You can also call the IRS directly at 1.800.829.1040 to see if they are indeed trying to reach you.

Source: Tax Fraud Is on the Rise, Take Extra Care to Avoid Phishing Scams


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