Tax season saw a 400% rise in fake email to taxpayers pretending to be from the IRS.
The scammers want you to click a link, give them information, or otherwise open yourself to identity theft.
Identity theft and the diversion of tax refunds is the number one tax scam. Fake email is third.
Protect yourself as poet Ogden Nash suggested: if a panther calls, don’t anther.
What fake IRS officers want
The IRS lists “phishing” as number 3 on its list of Dirty Dozen Tax Scams.
The larcenous email might ask about tax refunds, your tax filing status, or tax transcripts. Other scams want you to “confirm” personal information or give up PIN numbers.
The links they offer look like IRS links, but they are as fake as the email.
Watch out for fraudsters slipping these official-looking emails into inboxes, trying to confuse people at the very time they work on their taxes. We urge people not to click on these emails.” says IRS Commissioner John Koskinen
I can tell you from my professional experience dealing with the IRS on bankruptcy tax issues: the IRS is the least likely entity to use modern technology.
They don’t initiate contact by email. You can hardly get them to use email when working on a legitimate tax problem.
You can report phishing to the IRS by forwarding it to [email protected].
Scammers pretend to be TurboTax
Not content to impersonate the IRS, scammers are also using email pretending to be TurboTax, the tax software provider.
“Recent activity on your turbotax account has led to temporarily deactivation of your account. This might lead to permanent deactivation if not addressed on time. Verify Your TurboTax. Thanks for choosing TurboTax!”
This, too, is a scam.
Thieves hope you are concerned enough about loss of your data to give up your personal information, without thinking too hard.
Don’t do it.
All the tax scams
The complete list of this year’s IRS Dirty Dozen Tax Scams has a link exploring each one, written in nice, dry IRS prose.
It may be dull, but it’s important. Don’t file away your skepticism now that it’s tax filing season.
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