IRS Scams To Watch Out For
NEW YORK ( MainStreet) Owing money to Uncle Sam this year is problematic enough, but there are countless online scammers who claim they are with the IRS and are waiting to seize the opportunity to defraud consumers of their hard-earned cash.
The latest scam is an email which appears to be from the IRS claiming there is an issue with your tax return from 2013. Unfortunately, that's just one of many scams occurring this year.
This phishing email claims to be from the IRS Taxpayer Advocate Service and says that due to a processing error, it has been flagged for a review. The scammer provides a link which allegedly has information about the taxpayer and his reported income; there's also a promised advocate delegated to the case.
Instead, the IRS says the link leads consumers to a "fraudulent website that solicits personal information including names, personal contact information and income details." Anyone receiving this email should report it to the IRS. Scammers use these phishing emails to obtain access to your financial accounts and steal your identity.
While the Taxpayer Advocate Service is a real entity, it does not contact consumers via email, text or through social media. Neither does the IRS.
The email reads as follows:
"Your reported 2013 income is flagged for review due to a document processing error. Your case has been forwarded to the Taxpayer Advocate Service for resolution assistance. To avoid delays processing your 2013 filing contact the Taxpayer Advocate Service for resolution assistance."
Consumers who receive the email need to forward the email to the IRS's designated address for these scams firstname.lastname@example.org.
Scammers promise you everything from early refunds to eradication of your debt in one fell swoop. If it sounds too good to be true, check out the company before you enlist their help or fork over any money. Nabbing online scammers is difficult and getting your money back is nearly impossible because they are well-organized rings of thieves.
Expect to receive phishing emails, because they are common and arrive constantly. Don't count on your email provider to catch all of them a lot of your junk and spam email is sitting in your inbox.
Scammers are able to create very real emails which appear to come from legitimate companies who do tax preparation or even the federal government. The first rule of thumb check the email address and the sender, said Roman Gonzalez, security experience director of Toopher, an Austin, Texas-based company with an invisible, location-based multifactor authentication and authorization software tool that works with your smartphone.
"As far as phishing emails, it takes being particularly aware and nimble this season to dodge them," he said. "Always do your research. Even the email address can be spoofed or cloned. So if you're suspicious, use caution. When in doubt with security, don't click on it."