The Internal Revenue Service is reminding everyone to remain vigilant, especially during tax season for email, and text scams aimed at tricking taxpayers about refunds or tax issues.
Email, And Text Scams During Tax Season
The Federal Trade Commission claimed that since 2018, around 75,000 taxpayers have been victims of those scammers and have lost $28 million to fraudsters impersonating the IRS via phone, email, and text messages.
Moreover, the IRS again warned about phishing and smishing schemes during the annual Dirty Dozen tax scams campaign about cybercriminals attempting to steal taxpayer’s information via emails or text scams.
The Security Summit, the IRS, with state tax agencies and the nation’s tax industry, has been making numerous steps over the last eight years to caution every taxpayer to be alert for common scams and schemes each tax season that can contribute to identity theft. Along with the Security Summit initiative, Dirty Dozen strives to safeguard taxpayers, businesses, and the tax system from identity thieves and various scams designed to rob money and information.
Here’s How To Avoid Being Hooked By Scammers
Taxpayers and tax professionals should be alert to fake communications posing as legitimate organizations in the tax and financial community, including the IRS and states.
Unsolicited texts or emails lure unsuspecting victims to provide valuable personal and financial information and there are two primary types of scamming:
- Phishing is when con artist will send you an email pretending that they are from the IRS or another legitimate organization, including state tax organizations or a financial firm. The email draws the victims into the scam by a variety of ruses such as enticing victims with a phony tax refund or frightening them with false legal/criminal charges for tax fraud.
- Smishing is a text or smartphone SMS message that utilizes the same method as phishing. Scammers often use alarming language such as, “Your account has now been put on hold,” or “Unusual Activity Report” with a fake “Solutions” link to restore the taxpayer’s account. Unexpected tax refunds are another potential target for con artists.
The IRS initiates most contacts through regular mail and will never begin to contact taxpayers by email, text, or social media regarding a bill or tax refund.
Never click on any unsolicited communication claiming to be the IRS as it may surreptitiously load malware. It may also be a way for malicious cyberpunk to load ransomware that keeps the legitimate user from accessing their system and files.
Individuals should never respond to any phishing or smishing or even click on the URL link provided by a scammer. Instead, the fraudulent email or text should be reported instantly by emailing a copy of the text/SMS as an attachment to [email protected].
Lastly, the report should have the caller’s email or phone number, date, time, and time zone, and the number that received the fraud message.