Last year, fraud rose to unprecedented levels. IRS estimates indicate a 400% increase in phishing and malware incidents during the 2016 tax season. Criminals are finding more and more ways to sidestep the safeguards put in place. The IRS has compiled some resources for consumers heading into tax season. Here are the some fraud attacks to stay alert for:
- IRS-Impersonation Telephone Scams
- Malware Schemes
- Email Phishing Scam: “Update your IRS e-file”
- Tax Refund Scam Artists Posing as Taxpayer Advocacy Panel
The IRS does not do the following. If you experience any of these, you could be a target of fraud:
- Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. Generally, the IRS will first mail you a bill if you owe any taxes.
- Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
- Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
- Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
The IRS issued an important reminder for all consumers: “The IRS doesn’t initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or social media channels to request personal or financial information. In addition, IRS does not threaten taxpayers with lawsuits, imprisonment or other enforcement action. Being able to recognize these tell-tale signs of a phishing or tax scam could save you from becoming a victim.”
Speak with your CPA about any direct concerns you have regarding correspondence you have received. You can read more at the IRS tax fraud resource page.