The IRS is advising taxpayers and tax professionals to remain alert and safeguard sensitive information as the filing season draws near. Commissioner Danny Werfel stressed the importance of being cautious about email and text scams, underscoring the relentless tactics utilized by identity thieves.
Werfel pointed out the changing tactics of scammers who frequently impersonate tax authorities or other trustworthy entities throughout the tax season, taking advantage of people’s eagerness to acquire information about refunds or related matters.
The IRS, in collaboration with its Security Summit partners, including state tax agencies and various entities related to taxes, seeks to promote awareness during National Tax Security Awareness Week, leading up to the approaching 2024 tax filing season.
The guidance emphasized that the IRS mainly communicates via conventional mail, emphasizing the need for caution regarding unexpected emails, texts, or social media notifications concerning tax refunds or bills. Fraudsters take advantage of current events or disasters, using them as a guise to mislead taxpayers.
The IRS advises taxpayers to be wary of messages that appear to be from familiar contacts but could actually stem from compromised email or text accounts. This method continues to be a common strategy employed by scammers who aim at individuals and tax preparers.
To verify the sender’s identity, individuals are encouraged to use an alternative communication method, such as calling a verified and accurate number rather than the one provided in the message.
Fraudulent schemes, like phishing emails, deceitfully pose as reputable entities such as the IRS or state tax organizations. They allure victims with fabricated tax refunds or issue false threats of legal actions for alleged tax fraud.
Another form of deceitful practices, referred to as “smishing,” employs text messages to deceive individuals into thinking their accounts are suspended or showing unusual activity, offering fake solutions to address the purported concerns.
Emphasizing the significance of refraining from responding to tax-related phishing or smishing attempts, the IRS advocates against clicking on any unrequested links. Instead, individuals are encouraged to report such scams by forwarding the email or text, attached as a file, to [email protected].
The IRS, in collaboration with its Security Summit allies, aims to enhance awareness among taxpayers and tax professionals about potential scams that may emerge through diverse channels such as email, text, phone, or mail. Given the significant risk posed by identity theft and tax scams, especially with the approaching tax season, heightened vigilance becomes imperative.