Posted by Elliot Kravitz, ATP

Unsolicited e-mails from IRS imposters

Unsolicited e-mails from IRS imposters

The tax season may be over for most taxpayers, but fraudsters do not give up. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has recently warned taxpayers and tax professionals against a new fraudulent e-mail imitating the IRS.

The subject of the e-mail may vary, but according to the IRS, recent examples use phrases such as "Automatic Tax Reminder" or "Electronic Tax Reminder." The e-mails contain similar links to the IRS website, with details about the taxpayer's refund, electronic filing or tax account. E-mails contain a "temporary password" or a "one-time password" to guarantee access to the files. However, these files are hazardous. Once the virus infected files are installed on your computer, the fraudsters can secretly download the software that records each keystroke. This gives them sufficient access to information, such as the passwords of your financial account.

Make no mistake: The IRS does not send unsolicited e-mails and never sends e-mails to taxpayers regarding the status of the refund.

IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig confirmed, "The IRS does not send you e-mails about tax refunds or confidential financial information." This latest ploy reminds you that tax evasion is a problem for thieves all year; you are always on the alert.".

The IRS does not establish contact with taxpayers via e-mail, text messaging, or social media to request personal or financial information. This includes requests for PINs or passwords used to access credit cards, banks, or other financial accounts. Also, the IRS does not require immediate payment using a specific payment method, such as a prepaid debit card, a gift, or a bank transfer. These are details requested by scammers. The IRS usually sends an invoice to a taxpayer.

Phishing and phone scams have been at the top of the list of tax frauds since 2019. The underlying theme, according to the IRS, is that scams put taxpayers at risk. Do not interact or respond with scams. You should do the following:

  • If you get a call from someone who claims to belong to the IRS and is not required to pay taxes or if you immediately realize that it is a scam, end it.
  • If you receive an automatic call or a phone call from a person claiming to be from the IRS and not subject to tax or if you immediately know it is a scam, do not pick/return the call.
  • If you get a call from someone who claims to belong to the IRS and you, have to pay taxes or if you think you can pay taxes, do not provide any information. Call the Internal Revenue Service at 1.800.829.1040 for more details.
  • Never open an attachment (or link) from an unknown or suspicious source. If you are not certain of the authenticity of an e-mail, do not click on hyperlinks. A better option is to go directly to the primary source site.
  • Use strong passwords to protect your online accounts and use a unique password for each account. Now, it's better and does not hesitate to inquire about essential site details, as offenders may know some personal information.
  • If possible, use two-factor authentication or more. Two-factor authentication means that in addition to entering the username and password, you typically enter the security code sent to you.

If you notice that you are the victim of representation fraud with the IRS, you must report it to the Inspector General of the Treasury in charge of Tax Administration on the IRS Impersonation Reporting Web site and the IRS. By sending an e-mail to phishing@irs.gov. Here's how the IRS was informed of the latest scam: according to the IRS, taxpayers have begun to notify phishing@irs.gov about these unsolicited e-mails from IRS imposters.

The IRS and its security partners made up of state tax administrations and partners in the tax community, remain concerned about these scams.

Elliot Kravitz, ATP
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