Published: October 24, 2022 on our newsletter Security Fraud News & Alerts Newsletter.
Tax scams are starting a bit earlier this year. The IRS is already issuing warnings to taxpayers to be on the lookout for tax scams. The specific ones they are a concerned with are SMS/text messaging (smishing) scams. The agency says these have increased “exponentially” in recent months and particularly within the past few weeks.
According to the IRS commissioner, "This is phishing on an industrial scale so thousands of people can be at risk of receiving these scam messages." In recent months, the IRS claims that there have been thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of scams using the IRS as a theme. The latest involves a text where taxpayers are asked to click a link claiming they can get tax credits, COVID relief, or even help setting up their IRS account online, if only they enter some very personal information into a form.
The IRS wants everyone to know that they will not ask for personal details in a text or email message. They will never ask for account numbers or your social security or taxpayer ID using these methods. In fact, if the agency needs to contact you, it will send you a letter on actual paper, using the U.S. Postal Service as a first method of communication.
As always, watch for phishing attempts that now come in pretty much all flavors: Email, text, voicemail, and yes, very occasionally there is one in the U.S. Mail. There are red flags to determine if it may be phishing:
Watch for misspelled words, poor punctuation, and improper use of the language.
If the sender is unfamiliar to you or you are not expecting a link or attachment, be sure to confirm in an independent way that it is truly legitimate.
Keep in mind that these scams will most likely increase, with possible changes in topics, in the upcoming months as tax season nears.
And while the subject may change from COVID relief or account setup help to tax prep help or refunds, the ways to avoid being a victim of the scams remain the same. Don’t make tax season more stressful than it already is. Don’t click those suspicious links!
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