Tax Scam Alert: Identity Theft, Phony E-mails, and the IRS
Beware of IRS' 2010 'Dirty Dozen' Tax Scams
The Internal Revenue Service issued its 2010 "dirty dozen" list of tax scams, including schemes involving return preparer fraud, hiding income offshore and phishing. "Taxpayers should be wary of anyone peddling scams that seem too good to be true," IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman said. "The IRS fights fraud by pursuing taxpayers who hide income abroad and by ensuring taxpayers get competent, ethical service from qualified professionals at home in the U.S."
Beware of Tax Scams
The IRS wants taxpayers to be aware of tax scams. These scams are illegal and can lead to problems for taxpayers including significant penalties, interest and possible criminal prosecution. The schemes take several shapes, ranging from promises of large tax refunds to illegal ways of 'untaxing' yourself. Here are three important guidelines to keep in mind.
Electronic Federal Tax Payment System Cited in New E-mail Scam
The Internal Revenue Service is warning taxpayers to be on the lookout for a new e-mail scam that uses the Treasury Department's Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS) as a hook to lure individuals into disclosing their personal information. The new e-mail scam, fraught with grammatical errors and typos, looks like a page from IRS.gov and claims to be from the "IRS Antifraud Comission" (sic), a fictitious group. The e-mail claims someone has enrolled the taxpayer's credit card in EFTPS bank account. The e-mail claims money was lost and "remaining founds" (sic) are blocked. Recipients are asked to click on a link that will help them recover their funds, but the subsequent site asks for personal information that the thieves could use to steal the taxpayer's identity.
Fraudulent E-Mail Purported to be Representing Congressional Interests
The fraudulent email is sent from firstname.lastname@example.org. The author of the email claims to be representing several U.S. Legislative committees including the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Senate Committee on Appropriations, House Committee on Appropriations, and the House Committee of International Relations. This e-mail is a hoax. Do not follow the provided link.
FTC Cautions Consumers About Tax and Rebate Scams
The Federal Trade Commission cautions consumers looking forward to rebate checks from the government that they may be targets of scammers out to steal their identity. The schemes work like this: consumers get a call or an e-mail claiming to be from the IRS, the Social Security Administration, or some other government agency, and claiming to need some bit of personal information to process the rebate check. Consumers may be asked to provide their social security number, bank account number, or another piece of personal information that a skillful crook can use to commit identity theft.
IRS Alerts Public to New Identity Theft Scams
The IRS reminds consumers to avoid identity theft scams that use the IRS name, logo or web site in an attempt to convince taxpayers that the scam is a genuine communication from the IRS. Scammers may use other federal agency names, such as the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
IRS Warns of Phony e-Mails Claiming to Come from the IRS
The Internal Revenue Service alerts taxpayers about Internet scams in which fraudulent e-mails are sent that appear to be from the IRS. The e-mails direct the consumer to a Web link that requests personal and financial information, such as Social Security, bank account or credit card numbers. The practice of tricking victims into revealing private personal and financial information over the Internet is known as 'phishing' for information.
IRS Warns Taxpayers of New E-mail Scams
The Internal Revenue Service alterts taxpayers to the latest versions of an e- mail scam intended to fool people into believing they are under investigation by the agency's Criminal Investigation division.
Late Tax Scam Discovered; Free File Users Reminded to Use IRS.gov
The IRS warns of a new tax scam on the Internet that lures taxpayers into filing tax information on a site masquerading as a member of the Free File Alliance. The IRS reminded taxpayers the only place to access the Free File program is through the official IRS.gov Web site.
OnGuardOnline.gov Urges Taxpayers to Contact the IRS If They Suspect Tax-Related Identity Theft
OnGuardOnline.gov is informing consumers that an unexpected message from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) could be a warning sign that their Social Security number is being misused by an identity thief.
Simple Steps Can Prevent Tax Scams as Private Debt Collection Begins
As the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) begins its private debt collection initiative, the tax agency reminds taxpayers there are several simple steps that can provide protection against scam artists. Scamsters try a variety of tricks to impersonate the IRS in hopes of tricking taxpayers into divulging personal or financial information or even conning people out of cash. Scam artists try to impersonate the IRS in person, by phone, by e-mail and over the Internet.
Some Telephone Tax Refund Requests May Be Too High; IRS Will Deny Improper Requests
TheIRS reported that early filings show some individual taxpayers have requested large and apparently improper amounts for the special telephone tax refund. The IRS is investigating potential abuses in this area and will take prompt action against taxpayers who claim improper refund amounts and the return preparers who help them.
Tax Scammers Are Waiting to Take Your Money
Tax-related scams are on the rise, according to consumer complaints tracked by the National Consumers League's Fraud Center. Reports of tax scams from consumers nearly quadrupled in 2007 from the year before, and the trend seems to be continuing into 2008. This time of year - and with the economy in the shape it's currently in - crooks see vulnerable prey in consumers feeling the squeeze at tax time