Tax Season Is Over, But Watch Out For These Phishing Scams
Topic - Savings Tools
Published by| 07-21-2022
While tax season is over for most individuals, the IRS warns that scammers are still attempting brazen scams targeting those who are awaiting their returns or filing late.
Personal information and identity theft are generally the goal of these scammers, hoping to gain access to your information. Once they've attained it, the criminals can use your information for such things as filing fraudulent returns, filing for unemployment benefits, claiming stimulus bonuses, and more.
IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig was quoted as saying, "If you are surprised or scared by a call or text, it's likely a scam, so proceed with extreme caution. I urge everyone to verify a suspicious email or other communication independently of the message in question."
There are three primary methods the scammers often use to gain your information.
Victims might receive a phone message informing them that they might be subject to any number of threats if they do not reply, including contacting law enforcement, deportation, revocation of licenses, or even a warrant for arrest.
Criminals have sophisticated software that can fake the origin of the call, making it appear as if it came from a legitimate IRS office, law enforcement, or other government office.
The IRS states that it does not leave such pre-recorded messages, nor any type of threats.
The IRS will never call to demand immediate payment, especially using methods such as a prepaid debit card, gift card, or wire transfer, nor will it ask for credit card or debit card information over the phone.
Likewise, the IRS will not threaten to immediately bring in law enforcement or demand that taxes be paid without offering the opportunity to appeal and officially verify the amount owed.
Scammers can also fake the origin of an email, making it appear as if the email comes from the IRS, even using official logos and credentials. However, the IRS warns that it does not initiate contact via email to request financial or personal information and asks that you immediately report such an email by sending it as an attachment to email@example.com.
Scammers send what appear to be official-looking messages directly to victims' smartphones, frequently referencing topics such as a stimulus payment or COVID stimulus check. The message will often contain a link, which might look official, but the IRS states that it does not use text messages to discuss personal tax issues, especially regarding bills or refunds. Nor will it send such messages via social media. If you receive such a message, the IRS asks that you do not click on any links and that you take a screenshot and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The IRS states that it generally begins any communication via standard mail and that you should be aware of any of the above methods.