February third is the start of Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week. Income tax identity theft, by which identity thieves file phony income tax returns with counterfeit W-2s using the Social Security number and name of their victims is still a major problem for the IRS and taxpayers costing us all billions of dollars each year. However, when someone has stolen your Social Security number and filed an income tax return using your name, the problem becomes particularly personal. In addition, there are numerous other tax related scams including most significantly IRS impersonation phone call scams in which the scammer calls his or her victim posing as the IRS demanding an immediate payment of allegedly overdue taxes, often by gift cards and threaten dire consequences unless the payment is made immediately.
The most important thing to remember is that the IRS will not initiate any communications with you by email, text message or phone. Their logo is easy to counterfeit and any personal information in the phishing email was probably gathered through data breaches in which the information about you was stolen. Never provide personal information in response to an email, text message or phone call that purports to be from the IRS. If you have any thought that the communication may be legitimate, call the IRS a the numbers indicated here which also let you know what information you will need to confirm your identity. https://www.irs.gov/help/telephone-assistance
Below is a short video produced by the Federal Trade Commission that explains a number of different tax scams, how they work and how to avoid them.
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