IRS-Related Scams Are on the Rise
Stan Rose, Managing Director, Tax Practice
March 28, 2014
There is an ongoing phishing scam that appears to be escalating, and our readers should be aware of it. It involves receipt of e-mails purportedly from the Taxpayer Advocate Service (which is a legitimate division of the IRS), warning recipients of a processing error on their tax returns. The e-mail provides a link to help the recipient avoid delays receiving a refund. In another scam, phone calls are received from phony IRS agents, sharing news of refunds or large amounts due. Personal information is requested, or immediate payment is demanded, sometimes under threat of things like driver’s license revocation. (To my knowledge, the IRS can’t do that!) In both cases, the information looks and sounds legitimate, with official-looking letterhead, telephone caller ID that references the IRS, and sometimes the caller knows part of the intended victim’s Social Security Number.
Please be wary of these scams! Their increased sophistication has proven effective on a very wide scale. It is not uncommon for a lot of parties to know some of your personal information, but do not let the fact that they have it make you think they are legitimate. All they need to perfect an identity theft is a little more personal information to add to what they have. Be very suspicious of any communication requesting quick action or provision of personal information. Remember that the IRS will never initiate communication via e-mail, and phone calls are extremely rare. The IRS will not demand that you pay “on the spot” by credit card or debit card.
More information regarding the Taxpayer Advocate Service scam may be found here, and more information regarding the IRS Telephone scam may be found here. More information regarding protecting your identity and steps you should take if you believe you have been a victim may be found in an article we published in our August 2013 newsletter reproduced here.
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