NARFE - Chapter 1594
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Tax Scams/Consumer Alerts

Email Phishing Scam: "Update your IRS e-file"

The IRS is aware of email phishing scams that appear to be from the IRS and include a link to a bogus web site intended to mirror the official IRS web site. These emails contain the direction “you are to update your IRS e-file immediately.” The emails mention USA.gov and IRSgov (without a dot between "IRS" and "gov"), though notably, not IRS.gov (with a dot). Don’t get scammed. These emails are not from the IRS.

What do you do if you get these messages?

  • Do not respond to the email or click on the links.
  • Instead, they should forward the scam emails to the IRS at phishing@irs.gov.

For more information, visit the IRS's Report Phishing web page.

Remember, the IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information.

IRS-Impersonation Telephone Scams

An aggressive and sophisticated phone scam targeting taxpayers, including recent immigrants, has been making the rounds throughout the country. Callers claim to be employees of the IRS, but are not. These con artists can sound convincing when they call. They use fake names and bogus IRS identification badge numbers. They may know a lot about their targets, and they usually alter the caller ID to make it look like the IRS is calling.

Victims are told they owe money to the IRS and it must be paid promptly through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. If the victim refuses to cooperate, they are then threatened with arrest, deportation or suspension of a business or driver’s license. In many cases, the caller becomes hostile and insulting. Or, victims may be told they have a refund due to try to trick them into sharing private information. If the phone isn't answered, the scammers often leave an “urgent” callback request.

Note that the IRS will never:

  • Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. Generally, the IRS will first mail you a bill if you owe any taxes.
  • Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
  • Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

Remember: Scammers Change Tactics -- Aggressive and threatening phone calls by criminals impersonating IRS agents remain a major threat to taxpayers, but variations of the IRS impersonation scam continue year-round and they tend to peak when scammers find prime opportunities to strike.

Tax Refund Scam Artists Posing as Taxpayer Advocacy Panel

According to the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel (TAP), taxpayers are receiving emails that appear to be from TAP about a tax refund. These emails are a phishing scam, where unsolicited emails which seem to come from legitimate organizations — but are really from scammers — try to trick unsuspecting victims into providing personal and financial information. Do not respond or click the links in them. If you receive an email that appears to be from TAP regarding your personal tax information, please forward it to phishing@irs.gov and note that it seems to be a scam email phishing for your information.

TAP is a volunteer board that advises the IRS on systemic issues affecting taxpayers. It never requests, and does not have access to, any taxpayer’s personal and financial information such as Social Security and PIN numbers or passwords and similar information for credit cards, banks or other financial institutions.

Watch Out for These Recent Tax Scams

IR-2016-107 IRS reminds taxpayers against telephone scammers targeting students and parents during the back-to-school season and demanding payments for non-existent taxes, such as the “Federal Student Tax.”  If the person does not comply, the scammer becomes aggressive and threatens to report the student to the police to be arrested. As schools around the nation prepare to re-open, it is important for taxpayers to be particularly aware of this scheme going after students and parents.

IR-2016-99 The IRS has seen an increase in “robo-calls” where scammers leave urgent callback requests through the phone telling taxpayers to call back to settle their “tax bill.” These fake calls generally claim to be the last warning before legal action is taken. In the latest trend, IRS impersonators are demanding payments on iTunes and other gift cards. The IRS reminds taxpayers that any request to settle a tax bill by putting money on any form of gift card is a clear indication of a scam.

IR-2016-81 IRS warns taxpayers about bogus phone calls from IRS impersonators demanding payment for a non-existent tax, the “Federal Student Tax.” Scammers try to convince people to wire money immediately to the scammer. If the victim does not fall quickly enough for this fake “federal student tax”, the scammer threatens to report the student to the police.

IR-2016-55 IRS warns taxpayers of a phishing scam targeting Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia residents where the email scammers are citing tax fraud and trying to trick victims into verifying “the last four digits of their social security number” by clicking on a link provided. As a further attempt to trick residents of the Capital region, the email scam even suggests that information from recent data breaches across the nation may be involved.

IR-2016-40, This variation tries to play off the current tax season. Scammers call saying they have your tax return, and they just need to verify a few details to process your return. The scam tries to get you to give up personal information such as a Social Security number or personal financial information, such as bank numbers or credit cards.

IR-2016-34 Payroll and human resources professionals should be aware of an emerging phishing email scheme that purports to be from company executives and requests personal information on employees. The email contains the actual name of the company chief executive officer. In this scam, the “CEO” sends an email to a company payroll office employee and requests a list of employees and financial and personal information including SSNs.

Don't fall victim to tax scams.  Remember — if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Latest IRS Scam by Sandy Vogel:

Well, folks….now the scammers have another way to get you to send them your money!  Because so many folks are wise to the IRS phone scam of demanding money by scaring the heck out of everyone, the scammers latest scheme is to send you an IRS Form CP2000, which the scammers have tried to make look official and from the IRS.  This is the form the IRS sends you if they believe you owe the money on your tax return. HOWEVER, be very wary of ANY letter you receive.  In fact, look at the two IRS CP2000 forms attached below -- one (CP2000 notice.pdf) is real; but the other (SCAMletter.pdf) is NOT!!

I suggest you print the two examples provided below as attachments.  Then, if you get a letter that seems to be from the IRS, compare them with the letter you received.  You will see that there is a WEALTH OF DIFFERENCE between the two types.

NEVER SEND ANYONE MONEY RIGHT AWAY!!!!  If you had your taxes done by a paid tax preparer, check immediately with that person.  He or she will be very interested in any correspondence you receive about your taxes and should be the one you go to for help with any IRS letter, including one asking for additional money.

If you did your taxes yourself, contact ME before you send any money to anyone.  I'll try to help you figure out if the letter is real or a scam.  And even if it is real, I'll help you figure out if you, in fact, owe the amount the IRS says you do.  Note: I have been doing taxes for over 20 years as an IRS-trained volunteer with VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) so I will be glad to help you with most of the questions the IRS might have about your tax return.  (Unfortunately, I can't help with business returns because I am not qualified to prepare them.)

And, of course, if I prepared your return, be sure to call me at once.

Be careful out there!

 

Sandy Vogel, Service Officer

NARFE Chapter 1594

 

Click here for IRS CP2000

Click here for SCAMletter