The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) provides guidance every year on issues relating to common tax scams to help identify fraudulent activity and protect your personal information. Two of the most common types of tax fraud are referenced below: email phishing and IRS-impersonation telephone scams.
Several cyber criminals push various email phishing campaigns to get personal information or funds from unsuspected taxpayers by impersonating the IRS or a chief company executive around tax-filing season.
IRS Email Phishing: The first type of email phishing scam includes a false email that appears to be from the IRS and directs you to a link in order to “update your IRS e-file.” Clicking on this link allows the criminals to obtain usernames, passwords and other personal information in relation to your identity.
Company Executive Impersonation
This scam involves a “spoofed email” technique from a chief company executive or accounting employee, to request a wire transfer abroad. As a lure, the fraudster will request the employee’s W-2 information using the current tax season. A more recent development of this scam is an email sent from a compromised executive to Human Resources, asking W-2 information on all employees, which the scammer uses to file fraudulent tax returns. In sum, gaining access to one's W-2 allows for a great amount of personal information to be submitted for fraudulent tax returns or to be used to create realistic emails that are not easily detected.
IRS Impersonation Telephone Scam
An IRS telephone scam involves a caller or automated message claiming to be an employee of the IRS who informs the victim that they owe money that must be paid immediately to the IRS or an owed refund.
Here are some tips to remember if you are contacted by someone claiming to be with the IRS. The IRS will always first send correspondence prior to any call being made. They will never call demanding immediate payment or that payment must be made using a prepaid credit card. As a side note, you are always allowed to question or appeal the amount due.
Always remember, the The IRS doesn't initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or social media channels to request personal or financial information. The IRS will NEVER call and threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying. They will not call and ask for your personal or financial information. The following information will aid in the detection of these common tactics to prevent falling victim to tax fraud scams. For more information or helpful tips to avoid tax scams, visit the Internal Revenue Service at irs.gov.