Caution: IRS Impersonators Lure Taxpayers into Fraudulent Scams
Author: Susan Thiessen
According to a news release, the IRS and Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) continue to hear from taxpayers who received communication from individuals fraudulently claiming to be from the IRS. Based on the 90,000 complaints received by TIGTA’s telephone hotline to date, approximately 1,100 identified victims have lost an estimated $5 million from these fraudulent scams.
The IRS reminds taxpayers the first point of contact from the IRS will be through an official correspondence sent via mail; the IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by telephone or email to request personal or financial information.
Potential scam victims may be told they owe money that must be paid immediately to the IRS, or they may be told they are entitled to substantial refunds. Taxpayers are encouraged to be vigilant against phone and email scams using the IRS as a lure. This includes any type of electronic communication, such as text messages or social media.
Recipients of potentially fraudulent email messages should not open any attachments or click on any links; they should instead forward the message to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS and:
- You owe or think you might owe taxes, call the IRS at 800.829.1040. The IRS employee at this hotline can help you with valid payment issues.
- You do not owe taxes or do not believe you owe any taxes, call and report the incident to TIGTA at 800.366.4484.
If you’ve been targeted by this scam, you also should contact the Federal Trade Commission via ftc.gov and use the FTC Complaint Assistant.
If you believe you are a victim or a target of one of these scams, contact your BKD advisor for assistance.