Beware of Texting Scams
On September 28, the IRS issued a warning to taxpayers that the agency had noted a recent increase in IRS-themed texting scams. These scams seek to steal personal and financial information. Although the IRS has identified multiple texting scams throughout 2022, the IRS has issued the warning because the texting scams have increased exponentially in just the last few weeks.
The recent scams target cell phone users. The text messages look as if they are coming from the IRS and offer fake COVID relief, tax credits or help setting up an IRS online account. Some of the texts will instruct the recipient to click on a link which will lead to a phishing website where personal information will be requested. Clicking on the link can also send malicious viruses or spyware onto the phone.
Although the IRS works hard to shut down online fraud, the scams continually evolve so that criminals can catch more victims. For example, scammers use algorithms which automatically generate thousands of fraudulent domains. One recent scam used three dozen stolen or bogus e-mail addresses to create over 1,000 fraudulent domains.
The best way to combat the scams is to remain vigilant. Always remember, the IRS will NEVER text you, e-mail you or call you. All initial communication from the IRS will arrive the old-fashioned way—in writing delivered by the United States Post Office. The IRS will not ask you for personal or financial information in an initial communication as they already have all the personal information they need.
If you are contacted by a scammer regarding a tax-related scam, report it to the IRS at email@example.com. When you report the scam, the IRS reports the scam to the appropriate service providers for action thereby protecting other taxpayers who might receive the same, or a variant of the scam. Additionally, reporting the scam allows security professionals to track and disrupt the scam.
In addition to reporting the scam to the IRS, tax-related scams should also be reported to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting form, to the Federal Trade Commission at Complaint Assistant and to the Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov.
This is also a good time to remind you about charity fraud. The massive destruction caused by Hurricane Ian in our state makes all of us want to do something to help. This is a perfect situation for criminals to take advantage of our generosity. Please make sure that your donation is going to victims and not scammers. Learn more about preventing charity fraud by reviewing previous newsletters: https://magdaabdogomezlaw.com/tips-protecting-making-charitable-contributions/