IRS Warns of Latest Scam
In late August the IRS announced that a new scam had been detected which targeted taxpayers and tax professionals throughout the nation. The latest attempt by scammers to divest you of your money involves unsolicited e-mails.
The subject line of the e-mail varies, but will say something like “Automatic Income Tax Reminder” or “Electronic Tax Return Reminder”. The email will have links that show an IRS.gov-like website with details pretending to be about the taxpayer’s refund, electronic return or tax account. The email will provide a “temporary password” or “one-time password” to “access” the files to submit the refund request. However, when a taxpayer tries to access these, it turns out to be a malicious file.
This new scam uses dozens of compromised websites and web addresses that pose as the official IRS website, making it a challenge for the IRS to shut down. By infecting computers with malware, the scammers may gain control of the taxpayer’s computer or secretly download software that tracks every keystroke, eventually giving them passwords to sensitive accounts, such as financial accounts.
Although the IRS, and the tax industry, have made progress in their efforts to fight stolen identity refund fraud, taxpayers are still vulnerable to scams by IRS impostors sending fake emails or making harassing phone calls. Always remember the following and you should have no problems:
- The IRS will not contact you by e-mail
- The IRS will not contact you by text message or other social media
- The IRS will send you written communication by using the US Postal Service
- The first contact from the IRS will not generally be by a telephone call
- If you owe the IRS money they will mail you a bill. The IRS will not call you to demand immediate payment or payment using a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer
- The IRS will not request PIN numbers, passwords, or other access information
- The IRS will not call you to request bank account or other financial information