As the Tax season kicks off, the IRS warns of tax related phishing scams. All taxpayers, businesses, and tax professionals should be wary and on high alert. The IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig has stated:
“Taxpayers should be on constant guard for these phishing schemes, which can be tricky and cleverly disguised to look like it’s the IRS”
The IRS warns all emails should be looked at twice before attachments and links are opened. Warning signs of fake IRS emails include emails threatening people or guaranteeing a big refund.
Scammers are coming up with new ways to commit tax related frauds and identity thefts. Attackers are depositing money into victims’ bank accounts and then manipulating them to return the money to them. Scammers will first file fake tax returns and get the refund deposited into the victim’s bank account. They will then use one of two techniques. In one method, the victim will receive a phone call from the scammer pretending to be from a debt collection agency. They will then say that a refund was made to their account accidently and the money needs to be returned immediately to the collection agency.
In another method, the taxpayers receive a call from an automated message that says that it is the IRS calling. The call warns the taxpayer to return the money; or else they will be charged with a criminal fraud, handed an arrest warrant, and their social security number will be blacklisted. The call even gives a case number and a phone number for the victim to call back on.
The IRS warns all taxpayers, who receive a large refund into their bank accounts, to call their banking institution and tell them to return the refund to the IRS. They should call the IRS and let them know why the money is being returned. Further, to take extra precautions taxpayers may need to close bank accounts.
Contact LIFARS immediately if you have been victim to a phishing attack.