The deadline to file your taxes is just hours away — but that’s still plenty of time for scammers to play the IRS and demand payments from victims.
U.S. government officials warn that the IRS will never contact taxpayers by phone or email—the initial contact is always in a written letter.
Fake messages are also widespread, with bad actors bombarding phones with messages demanding payments or threatening legal action over unpaid taxes.
These bogus letters will ask for immediate payment, sometimes with a gift card, or threaten people with arrest, actions the IRS says it would never take to collect payments.
Tax day has come in the United States, and this means that scammers will pretend to be the IRS to demand money from victims
IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel said in a statement statementFraudsters are coming up with new ways all the time to try to steal information from taxpayers.
People should be careful and avoid sharing sensitive personal data over the phone, email or social media to avoid falling for these scams.
“And people should always remember to be careful if a tax deal seems too good to be true.”
More than 3,000 tax frauds reported in 2022 resulted in $6.23 million in losses, according to data from Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
The agency hopes to reduce those numbers for this year by educating the public about the types of scams.
Phishing and phishing seem to be the perfect attack solution among scammers.
The first includes fake emails claiming to come from the IRS or other legitimate organization, including government tax organizations or a financial company.
These communications can include bogus tax refunds to trick people into handing over bank details or false charges for tax fraud.
Some phishing emails may also ask the victim to call a phone number. In these cases, the scammer will pretend to be an IRS officer and take the person’s details over the phone.
Scammers send text messages pretending to be the IRS. These include contact numbers or links that direct users to a fake website asking for payments
Phishing is a text message that uses the same phishing technique but provides a link for users to click on, usually a fake website designed to look like an official IRS website.
Scammers often use alarming language such as, “Your account is now suspended” or “Report unusual activity” with a bogus “solutions” link to recover the recipient’s account. Unexpected tax refunds are another potential target for scam artists.
Beware of these scams
Phishing: Scammers will create fake emails that look like they came from the IRS.
These messages will ask for payment through a link or ask people to submit their information.
Phishing schemes may also tell people they need to provide bank details to get your money back.
Smiling: This is phishing by SMS and text messages.
The letters are often threatening and demanding that the target be sued by the IRS. Sometimes they claim that an arrest warrant has been issued for the person.
The script will then ask the victim to call a number or click on a link.
Phone calls: The caller will say the victim is eligible for a tax refund, then ask for personal information and bank details to make the payment.
If it looks suspicious, or you have no reason to suspect a call, call the scam hotline.
The scammers created a fake phone number and then sent mass text messages to hundreds, sometimes thousands, of unsolicited targets.
There are many ways scammers obtain their victims’ phone numbers – but they are usually deleted from the huge databases on the Internet.
“Email and text message scams are relentless, and scammers often use tax season as a way to scam people,” said Werfel.
With people wanting to receive the latest information about a refund or other tax issue, scammers will regularly appear to be the IRS, government tax agency, or others in the tax industry in emails and texts.
“People have to be very careful about unexpected messages like this that can be a trap, especially during logging season.”
Taxpayers will also start to see scam calls ringing throughout the day and although it looks dated, this method was a very successful attack.
The voice on the other end will indicate that it is with the IRS, and demand immediate payment through some method such as a credit card or gift card.
These scammers may go so far as to threaten arrest, revoke their driver’s license, and even deportation if victims do not hand over the requested amount or provide personal information.
Christopher Brown, an attorney with the Federal Trade Commission, told NPR that the IRS would never threaten taxpayers with arrest or demand immediate payment over the phone.
This is because citizens can contest or question the amount they owe in taxes, and payments are usually prepared through written communications.
“This newer tactic of luring people in with promises of a tax refund or rebate via email or text is often used as a scam or scam,” Brown said.
Officials caution against trusting caller ID, which can also be changed to display any name or organization.
The IRS states on its website: “Individuals should never respond to phishing, tax-related phishing, or click on a URL link.”
Instead, scams should be reported by sending email or a copy of the text/SMS as an attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The report should include the caller ID (email or phone number), date, time, time zone, and the number that received the message.