Scammers are trying new tactics to convince taxpayers to hand over their personal information, the Internal Revenue Service warned.
In a new email scam targeting taxpayers, people are receiving emails that appear to come from the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel, a volunteer board that advises the IRS on issues affecting taxpayers. They try to trick taxpayers into providing personal and financial information. The IRS said taxpayers should not respond or click the links in these emails. If they receive an email that appears to be from TAP regarding their personal tax information, they should forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The IRS has seen an approximate 400 percent surge in phishing and malware incidents so far in the 2016 tax season. The emails are designed to trick taxpayers into thinking these are official communications from the IRS or others in the tax industry, including tax software companies. The phishing schemes can ask taxpayers about a wide range of topics. Emails can seek information related to refunds, filing status, confirming personal information, ordering transcripts and verifying PIN information.
The IRS said it is also receiving new reports of scammers calling under the guise of verifying tax return information over the phone (see IRS Warns of New Phone Scam Tactic). The latest variation on this scam uses the current tax-filing season as a hook. Scam artists call saying they are from the IRS and have received the taxpayer’s tax return, and they just need to verify a few details to process it. The scam tries to get taxpayers to give up their personal information such as a Social Security number or personal financial information, such as bank numbers or credit cards.
Aggressive and threatening phone calls by criminals impersonating IRS agents remain an ongoing threat. The IRS said it has seen a surge of these phone scams in recent years as scam artists threaten taxpayers with police arrest, deportation, license revocation and more. The con artists often demand payment of back taxes on a prepaid debit card or by immediate wire transfer. Taxpayers should be alert to con artists impersonating IRS agents and demanding payment.
The IRS said it will never call to demand immediate payment over the phone or call about taxes owed without first having mailed a bill, nor will it threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law enforcement groups to have a taxpayer arrested for nonpayment. The IRS also will not demand payment of taxes without giving the person the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed or require the use of a specific payment method for taxes, such as a prepaid debit card. The IRS will not ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone or threaten to bring in local police or other law enforcement groups to have someone arrested for not paying.
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