Tomorrow is April 15th which is the last day for filing your federal income tax return unless you are a procrastinator who has filed an extension. Identity thieves and scammers love income tax season as it provides them with an opportunity for a wide variety of scams to steal your money. I have described these scams in numerous Scams of the day. As the income tax season comes to an end, scammers and identity thieves are busy with one last scam about which I want to warn you. It starts with you receiving an email that appears to come from the IRS Taxpayer Advocate Service in which you are told that there is a problem with your recently filed federal income tax return and that IRS computers have found errors in your return. In order to resolve the problem, you are told to click on a link in the email that purports to take you to the IRS Taxpayer Advocate Service website where you are told you will find information about the problem and the name of the taxpayer advocate assigned to your case. If you click on the link, you will not go to the IRS Taxpayer Advocate Service, which is a real organization. Instead you will be sent to a legitimate looking, but phony website that will solicit you to provide information that will enable the identity thief behind this scam to make you a victim of identity theft.
The easy way to avoid this scam is to remember that the IRS will never initiate contact with taxpayers by email. If you get an email, text message or phone call purporting to be from the IRS initiating contact about anything, you can be sure that it is a scam. As a general rule, however, it is important to recognize that whenever you get an email, phone call or text message, you can never be sure of who is contacting you and whether or not they are legitimate. Therefore never provide information to anyone who contacts you in this manner and do not click on links or attachments in unsolicited text messages or emails which may either be seeking personal information from you to be used to make you a victim of identity theft or will automatically when you click on the link download keystroke logging malware on to your computer that will steal the information from your computer and again use it to make you a victim of identity theft.