As the tax season looms, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is raising the alarm about a surge in scams targeting taxpayers and tax professionals. The IRS, 42 state tax agencies, and various entities in the tax ecosystem have unveiled a series of warnings to shield sensitive information from the onslaught of fraudulent schemes.
According to IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel, the warning is a crucial cautionary measure. “Identity thieves are relentless,” he states, emphasizing the need for vigilance against email and text scams. The cunning tactics employed by scammers often masquerade as official tax entities, preying on individuals eagerly awaiting tax refunds or updates during the filing season.
Identity thieves exploit current events and tragedies to deceive unsuspecting victims, creating intricate traps to steal personal information. One prevalent scam involves imposters posing as potential clients to gain access to tax professionals’ systems, facilitating the filing of fraudulent tax returns.
The tactics fraudsters use continue to evolve, extending to phishing emails and “smishing” messages via text. These fraudulent communications, purporting to be from the IRS or legitimate entities, tempt recipients with promises of fake tax refunds or fabricated allegations of tax fraud.
The IRS issues a stark reminder: never respond to these fraudulent attempts or click on unfamiliar URLs. Instead, report these scams by forwarding suspicious emails or text messages to email@example.com.
The IRS Security Summit partners echo this sentiment, emphasizing that the IRS primarily communicates through regular mail. Therefore, unexpected emails, texts, or social media messages regarding tax refunds or bills should raise immediate red flags.
Furthermore, caution is advised against clicking on unsolicited communications that claim to be from the IRS or other tax-related entities. Clicking on such links could unwittingly load malware onto devices, potentially leading to ransomware attacks that lock owners out of their systems or files.
As the tax season approaches, staying informed and cautious is paramount. By remaining vigilant and promptly reporting suspicious activity, taxpayers and tax professionals can fortify themselves against these emerging tax season scams.