IRS tax scams

Evolving IRS Tax Threats and Scams from Fraudsters

  • January 19, 2021

Thousands of people have lost millions of dollars and their personal information to IRS tax scams. Scammers use the regular mail, telephone, or email to set up individuals, businesses, payroll, and tax professionals. The IRS doesn't initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages, or social media channels to request personal or financial information. Recognize the telltale signs of a scam – and remember, these scams are happening year-round.

IRS warns of new scam targeting e-filers

The Internal Revenue Service has cautioned electronic return originators about a new identity theft scheme aimed at holders of Electronic Filing Identification Numbers (EFIN) from fraudsters posing as IRS contractors.

The IRS said the fraudsters suggest they are contacting the EROs to verify or check on their EFIN acceptance letter. (ERO, or The Electronic Return Originator, is the Authorized IRS e-file Provider who originates the electronic submission of a return to the IRS. The ERO is usually the first point of contact for most taxpayers filing a return using IRS e-file) The scammers may then ask the ERO to email them a copy of the EFIN acceptance letter and provide a phone number to call for questions.

“As with all scams, this one can evolve and the elements may change,” said the IRS in an email to tax professionals. “EROs should remain vigilant and take steps to protect their identities and taxpayer data.”

The IRS recommended that any electronic return originators who hear from individuals posing as the IRS should contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at www.tigta.gov to file a complaint. Also, EROs who have been contacted by the scammers and were tricked into disclosing their acceptance letter should contact the IRS’s e-Services help desk immediately.

IRS warns of new EIP text scam

The IRS is warning of a new text scam created by thieves that tricks people into disclosing bank account information under the guise of receiving their $1,200 Economic Impact Payment.

The scam message states, “You have received a direct deposit of $1,200 from COVID-19 TREAS FUND. Further action is required to accept this payment into your account. Continue here to accept this payment … .” The text includes a link to a fake web address, warned the IRS and its partners in the Security Summit, including state tax agencies and the tax industry.

This fake phishing URL, which appears to come from a state agency or relief organization, takes recipients to a fraudulent website that impersonates the IRS.gov "Get My Payment" website. Victims enter their personal and financial account information that scammers then harvest.

Neither the IRS nor state agencies text taxpayers asking for bank account information so that an EIP deposit may be made.

“This scam is a new twist on those we’ve been seeing much of this past year,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig.

People who receive the text scam should take a screenshot of the text message and include the screenshot in an email to phishing@irs.gov, along with the date, time, and time zone that they received the message; the number that appeared on their Caller ID; and the number that received the text message.

IRS warns of “Tax Transcript” email scam, especially dangerous to business networks!

The Internal Revenue Service and Security Summit partners recently warned the public of a surge of fraudulent emails impersonating the IRS and using tax transcripts as bait to entice users to open documents containing malware.

The scam is especially problematic for businesses whose employees might open the malware because this malware can spread throughout the network and potentially take months to successfully remove.

This well-known malware, known as Emotet, generally poses as specific banks and financial institutions in its effort to trick people into opening infected documents. The Summit partnership of the IRS, state tax agencies and the nation’s tax industry remind taxpayers to watch out for this scam.

However, in the past few weeks, the scam masqueraded as the IRS, pretending to be from “IRS Online.” The scam email carries an attachment labeled “Tax Account Transcript” or something similar, and the subject line uses some variation of the phrase “tax transcript.”

These clues can change with each version of the malware. Scores of these malicious Emotet emails were forwarded to phishing@irs.gov recently.

The IRS reminds taxpayers it does not send unsolicited emails to the public, nor would it email a sensitive document such as a tax transcript, which is a summary of a tax return. The IRS urges taxpayers not to open the email or the attachment. If using a personal computer, delete or forward the scam email to phishing@irs.gov. If you see these using an employer’s computer, notify the company’s technology professionals.

My Tax Problem Solver Team and I are passing along this information to help you to avoid any scam attempts that may come your way. Remember, we're always here to help you with any tax debt issues that might be weighing you down. To discuss your specific tax debt situation, please contact our tax firm for a free tax consultation. You can email me at Larry@TaxProblemSolver.com and we can dive into your issues and solve them. You can also call me at (855) 688-4779 or book your free consultation online by Clicking here.

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About the Author Larry Heinkel J.D. LL.M

Larry Heinkel is a tax and bankruptcy attorney with more than 38 years experience helping businesses and individuals, solve their state and federal tax problems. Mr. Heinkel has been extremely successful in representing his clients before IRS and DOR, and is known throughout Florida as an expert in tax problem resolution.

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