If you have begun receiving fake emails from the IRS leading you to a webpage that replicates the IRS web page, you know tax season is here. You cannot overlook it: the keyword here is fake. Any email you receive from the IRS is an imitation, purposely planted to get your tax filing information. The IRS never initiates communication with taxpayers through email, text messages or social networking sites.
Scam artists have come up with new email scams this tax season. These are the ones to watch out for:
- A fake email from the IRS' Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), informing you that your tax payment was rejected. To get information on why your payment was declined, it tells you to click on a link. If you click on the link provided, your computer will get malware used to get information you store on your computer.
- Fake emails with headers such as ‘IRS notification' ‘IRS service' or simply ‘IRS.' Some even have fake signatures with the seal of the IRS. They use the irs.gov web address to deceive taxpayers, and may contain either an attachment or a link.
- A scam email using the 'Where's My Refund?' title telling you to find out what your tax refund status online. The link on the email does not lead to the authentic IRS Where's My Refund? web page, just an imitation. You will be asked to share your Social Security number (SSN) and other tax filing information, which the scammers use to file false tax returns in your name.
When taxpayers are confronted with these emails, it is best to report them. Any email you receive that claims to be from the IRS or EFTPS can be reported to the IRS at firstname.lastname@example.org. You just need to forward the email received. Never click on any links or open the attachment on those emails for any reason.
The IRS has a special unit for identity protection known as IPSU (Identity Protection Specialized Unit). If you lost or shared your SSN, but your tax records are not yet affected, you can reach the IRS through their toll-free number 1-800-908-4490.
This tax season, don't fall victim to ID phishing attacks. Report the scammers to the IRS and save other taxpayers from getting victimized by tax frauds.