March 22 2017
IRS Warns of Uptick in Tax Related Scams as April 15 Draws Closer
As Tax Day draws near the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is warning residents that it has seen an increase in attempted tax-related scams.
“The IRS has issued several alerts about the fraudulent use of the IRS name or logo by scammers trying to gain access to consumers’ financial information in order to steal their identity and assets,” a warning from the agency states. “Scammers use the regular mail, telephone, fax or email to set up their victims. When identity theft takes place over the web (email), it is called phishing.”
The scam alert says that the IRS saw a near 400 percent surge in phishing and malware incidents in the 2016 tax season.
Scam emails are designed to trick taxpayers into thinking these are official communications from the IRS or others in the tax industry, including tax software companies, the alert states. These phishing schemes can ask taxpayers about a wide range of topics. Emails can seek information related to refunds, filing status, confirming personal information, ordering transcripts and verifying PIN information.
The IRS says that variations of these scams can be seen via text messages, and the communications are being reported in every section of the country.
“The IRS is aware of email phishing scams that appear to be from the IRS and include a link to a bogus web site intended to mirror the official IRS web site,” the warning reads.” These emails contain the direction ‘you are to update your IRS e-file immediately.’ The emails mention USA.gov and IRSgov (without a dot between "IRS" and "gov"), though notably, not IRS.gov (with a dot). These emails are not from the IRS.”
The sites ask for Social Security numbers and other personal information, which could be used to help file false tax returns. The sites also may carry malware, which can infect people's computers and allow criminals to access your files or track your keystrokes to gain information.