These days people are being targeted by scams from all directions. Not only are there the old fake IRS calls, but now there are new tax scams that are gaining popularity. This includes one where your entire tax return can vanish.
It is reported that more than 12,000 victims have lost $63 million for fake IRS calls from scammers trying to fool people into sending money. However, the IRS said they will never call you demanding immediate payment.
So now, every way they can contact you, they are doing it. These include robo calls, physical calls, emails, and social media. They will try to defraud you and they are now doing it at a high frequency.
A New Twist
Now experts are saying your entire tax return is being targeted. The IRS says that the entire tax preparation community should be on high alert this filing season. This is because of the numerous database breaches in 2017, including the massive Equifax breach. Your personal information is very much at risk. The hackers take that personal and file a fraudulent return on your behalf and will wind up stealing your tax refund
Security experts say the scammers can also get personal information by phishing and sending you spoof emails. They make it look like the email is coming from someone you trust. This happened recently at a company in the Chicago area. And employees are now at risk because scammers sent an email pretending to be an administrator and compromising these employees’ W-2s.
This is a huge problem now because now that fraudulent organization has those W-2 forms and they can go and fill out a 1040 EZ, They can then file the tax return, claim the refund, and they are off to the bank and off to their next victim. That is the problem that is now far more prevalent and way more pervasive.
The amount of information hackers are receiving such as W-2 forms, 1099s, other tax information including tax transcripts has greatly increased. As a result it is advisable to file returns as quickly as possible
The IRS is now also warning about another scam where thieves will deposit your tax return into your own account and then actually trick you into giving your money back to them. To get more information on that scam, please Click Here.
More From The IRS On Tax Scams
IRS Criminal Investigators urge U.S. citizens to be extremely vigilant and skeptical this tax filing season. Don’t ever open a link or attachment from an unknown or suspicious source. And even if the email is from a known source, you should approach with caution. Cybercriminals are proficient at imitating trusted businesses and friends and family. And they are getting better at it every day. And very importantly, always remember the IRS will never contact you via email or telephone to ask for money or your personal information. Please Click Here for more information.
You also should be careful when choosing a tax return preparer. Even though you have contracted someone to prepare your income tax return, you are ultimately responsible and liable for the accuracy of that return and information.
W-2 Phishing Scheme
Phishing schemes involving W-2’s are out there and payroll and human resource professionals are strongly urged to be aware of this phishing email scheme. This scam contact is purported to be from company executives and request personal information on employees.
Note: The IRS Does Not
- Call and demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. Usually, the IRS will first mail you a bill if you owe any taxes.
- Threaten to involve local police or other law-enforcement groups to arrest you for not paying.
- Demand payment without first giving you a chance to question or appeal the amount that they say you owe.
- Request credit or debit card account numbers over the phone.
BBB Comments On The Traditional IRS Scam Calls
This is still very popular but thankfully on the decline. The most common ones are IRS phone calls that threaten that the IRS is filing a lawsuit against a consumer for unpaid debts or that the IRS has a warrant out for their arrest and is going to send law enforcement authorities to their house unless they pay.
It is true that reports of Tax Collection scams were on a decline in 2017 compared to 2016 due to FBI raids in India. However, they are still seeing reports trickling in, particularly the warrant or arrest threat calls claiming to be from the IRS. Those are the vast majority, if not all of the Tax Collection scam reports. Last year the BBB received in excess of 3,000 Tax Collection scam reports by way othe f BBB Scam Tracker. In 2016, BBB received close to 8,000 Tax Collection scam reports.
If you are a taxpayer who doesn’t owe or doesn’t think they owe any tax, and you receive a threatening inquiry, you should:
- Get in contact with the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. You can use the TIGTA’s “IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting” web page to report the incident.
- You should report the incident to the Federal Trade Commission. Utilize the “FTC Complaint Assistant” on FTC.gov.
- In most instances, an IRS phishing scam is an unsolicited, phony email that will claim to come from the IRS. Some of the emails are linked to bogus websites that look very real. The goal of the scammer is to lure victims into giving them their personal and financial information. If the thieves get what they’re after, they will use it to steal a victim’s identity and money.
For the taxpayer who receives a phishing email, the IRS gives this advice:
- Do not answer the message.
- Do not provide your personal or financial information.
- You can forward the email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Then simply delete it.
- Do not click on any links or open any attachments. They may contain malicious code that will infect your computer.
Thanks for taking the time to read this post on How to Spot IRS Tax Scams. I hope is has been a service to the reader. If you know of someone that can use this information, please feel free to forward. Also, if you know of any scams that need to be looked at, please leave the information below and I will be glad to investigate. Also, please leave comments and questions below and I will get back to you as soon as possible. Take care and have a great day.