As we approach the end of the year, many people are already thinking about the upcoming income tax filing season. Some of those people are scammers. The IRS recently issued a warning about a number of income tax related scams, such as phishing emails that appear to come from the IRS and phone calls that also appear to come from the IRS. In both of these instances, the scammers attempt to lure unsuspecting victims into paying the scammers posing as the IRS. Other times the scammers try to lure their victims into supplying personal information such as their Social Security numbers that can be used by the scammers to file a phony income tax return using the name and Social Security number of the identity theft victim. The scammers file a phony income tax return using a counterfeit W-2 in order to obtain a refund from the IRS. When income tax identity theft occurs, it can take as long as six months for the legitimate taxpayer to get his or her legitimate refund paid by the IRS.
According to the IRS, phishing emails posing as the IRS increased by 60% this year. The subject lines of the phishing emails often appear as “IRS Important Notice,” “IRS Taxpayer Notice” or other similar subjects.
It is easy to know if it really is the IRS sending you an email demanding payment. It never is. It is always a scam. The IRS never initiates contact with taxpayers by email so regardless of how legitimate the email may appear, it is a scam. If you think you may have an issue with the IRS, merely call the IRS. Here is a link with information you an use to contact the real IRS.
The IRS will also not initiate contact with you by phone either so even if your Caller ID indicates the call is from the IRS, it is not. Through “spoofing” your Caller ID can be tricked into making it appear that a call coming from a scammer is coming from the IRS. It isn’t.
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