As we move into the holiday season, it is crucial to continue to be vigilant. Unfortunately, taxpayers are a prime target of con artists claiming to be the IRS to try and solicit sensitive information. There are some essential things to know to stay safe from scams.
The IRS does not contact taxpayers via phone, email, text, or social media regarding taxes, refunds or information requests. Legitimate IRS communications primarily occur through regular mail. Thus, any other communication requesting your Social Security number, allegedly from the IRS, is an identity theft attempt. Keep in mind the IRS already has your Social Security number.
IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel advises caution, urging individuals to avoid sharing sensitive data over the phone, email, or social platforms to sidestep such scams. If contacted via email – delete.
Recent IRS-identified scams include:
- Email and Texts: Cybercriminals send deceitful emails from a fake IRS account, often claiming underreported income or refunds. These emails contain attachments or links leading to counterfeit tax statements. Clicking these downloads loads malware onto your computer, compromising data and facilitating identity theft or unauthorized account access.
- Phishing: Phishing involves fraudsters sending messages (email or text) aimed at extracting personal info. For instance, a phishing scam targeting payroll departments sends emails that appear official, requesting W-2 forms. Employees may share these forms, enabling fraudsters to exploit the data for criminal purposes.
- Tax Refund Scams: Fraudsters are mailing taxpayers what looks like a cardboard envelope from a delivery service. The letter—complete with a fake IRS masthead, requests information to process your unclaimed refund. The letter includes bogus contact information. The entire purpose is to steal personal data.
These scams constantly evolve. Remain vigilant, refraining from opening attachments or clicking links.
Click here to visit the IRS consumer alert webpage and learn more about IRS scams. The page is regularly updated.
If ever in doubt, contact our office (before providing any information), and we’ll be happy to discuss.