The IRS reports that thousands of people continue to lose millions of dollars every year due to tax scams. Nefarious persons are prepared to conduct their operations via phone, mail, email or other communication vehicles. Both tax professionals and regular individuals should know about exactly which red flags to watch out for. The following scams are common:
- .Edu scams: Educational institutions and individuals with .edu email addresses should remain cognizant of the fact that scammers are reaching out. In recent weeks, the IRS has received a number of complaints about these types of phishing emails.
- The SSN scam: Attempts to steal social security numbers aren’t new. But hackers added a twist to previous takes. Now, scammers claim to be able to cancel or suspend a person’s SSN. This is intended to incentivize people to click or call.
- Natural disaster scams: In some cases, victims of natural disasters are eligible for federal financial assistance. Cyber criminals aim to take advantage of these individuals and of those who wish to help them. In the past, hackers have impersonated the IRS to allegedly assist individuals in filing casualty loss claims and the like.
- E-Filing Number scams: The IRS recently warned professional tax preparers to be wary of emails that target identities and clients’ data. In the event that a cyber criminal can capture this information, they can also fraudulently file a preparer’s taxes or clients’.
- Impersonation attempts: Hackers are happy to pose as seemingly legitimate organizations. Individuals who fall for look-a-like emails or links may incur a malware attack.
- Taxpayer advocate scams: The Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) is an authentic organization within the IRS. However, they do not call individuals “out of the blue”, as stated on the IRS website. These days, scammers are prone to calling with fake names and fake IRS badge numbers in order to offer the smoke screen of legitimacy.
- Demands for payment: The IRS never calls in order to demand immediate payment. Most of the time, the IRS generally mails a bill to any person who owes money to the federal government. Hear an agitated or hostile “IRS employee” or contractor on the phone? Hang up.
- FDIC scams: The Federal Depository Insurance Corporation functions to ensure that consumers do not lose banked resources. Any unsolicited requests from the FDIC that ask for money, banking information or other sensitive personal details are scams. These types of scammers are generally interested in committing fraud or selling your information on the dark web.
- Take this FBI survey: The Federal Bureau of Investigation does not send surveys. These types of emails generally aim for persons to click on malicious links.
- Federal Student Taxes from your MBA program: Federal student taxes do not exist.
As scammers become increasingly sophisticated, it becomes ever-more complex to detangle legitimate communications from falsified ones. Watch out for the major types of tax scams. If you spot a scam, you can report it to the IRS.
For more on 2021 tax scams, visit Security Boulevard.