Beware of IRS refund SCAM email!
With the April 17 tax deadline approaching, the Internal Revenue Service and Security Summit partners urge taxpayers and tax professionals to be alert to identity theft scams, especially a new email version currently pretending to be from “IRS Refunds.”
The “IRS Refunds” scam is a common tactic used by cybercriminals to trick people into opening a link or attachment associated with the email. This link takes people to a fake page where thieves try to steal personally identifiable information, such as Social Security numbers.
Often these links or attachments also secretly download malware that can perform many functions, such as giving the thief control of the computer or tracking keystrokes to determine other sensitive passwords or critical data.
The IRS does not randomly contact taxpayers or tax professionals via email, including asking people to confirm their tax refund information.
Note that the IRS does not:
– Demand that taxpayers use a specific payment method, such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. The IRS will not ask for debit or credit card numbers over the phone. Taxpayers should make check payments to the “United States Treasury” or review IRS.gov/payments for IRS online options.
– Demand that taxpayers pay taxes without the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say is owed. Generally, the IRS will first mail a bill to those who owe any taxes. Taxpayers should also be advised of their rights as a taxpayer.
– Threaten to bring in local police, immigration officers or other law-enforcement to have taxpayers arrested for not paying. The IRS also cannot revoke a driver’s license, business license or immigration status. Threats like these are common tactics scam artists use to trick victims into buying into their schemes.
Here are a few basic security steps for taxpayers:
– Always use security software with firewall and anti-virus protections.
– Learn to recognize and avoid phishing emails, threatening calls and texts from thieves posing as legitimate organizations such as banks, credit card companies and even the IRS.
– Protect personal data.
Original Story at IRS website.