How it works:
There are a variety of IRS scams that are popular around tax time. One such scam involves “phishing”, where fraudulent e-mails purporting to be from a legitimate source induce victims to reveal personal information. Phishing emails commonly masquerade as communication from banks, credit card companies, or popular online vendors. Phishing e-mails may contain copied logos, a link to a fraudulent website, or even a “spoofed” e-mail address. The IRS phishing scam is particularly effective because the scammer is pretending to represent a formidable government agency.
Scammers may claim that a taxpayer’s checking account was rejected, threaten a penalty for failing to file a return on time, offer assistance in claiming a tax credit/refund, or offer money for completing a customer satisfaction survey. The victim is induced to enter personal information such as bank account numbers, credit card numbers, ATM pin information, even their mother’s maiden name. Once scammers have obtained this information, the victim may be exposed to a variety of financial crimes.
Although the IRS is increasingly relying on the internet for functions like electronic tax filing, they do not initiate taxpayer communications through e-mail, text messages, or social networking pages.
What to do:
Do not click on attachments or links within an unsolicited e-mail claiming to come from the IRS. This may download a malicious computer virus onto your computer.
Do not reply or provide any personal information in response to unsolicited e-mails from the IRS.
Do report instances of IRS-related phishing attempts or fraud by forwarding the email to the IRS (firstname.lastname@example.org) and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (email@example.com).
Do report any financial loss stemming from an IRS scam to the Darien Police Department.