Taxpayers should be aware that a new IRS impersonation scam email campaign is making the rounds. This latest scheme is yet another reminder that tax scams are a year-round business for thieves and taxpayers should be on guard at all times.
This latest scam uses dozens of compromised websites and web addresses that pose as IRS.gov. By infecting computers with malware, these scammers may be able to gain control of the taxpayer’s computer or secretly download software that tracks every keystroke, eventually giving them passwords to sensitive accounts such as financial accounts.
The email subject line may vary, but recent examples use the phrase “Automatic Income Tax Reminder” or “Electronic Tax Return Reminder.” The body of the email contains links that show an IRS.gov-like website with details pretending to be about the taxpayer’s refund, electronic return or tax account.
In addition, the emails contain a “temporary password” or “one-time password” to “access” the files to submit the refund. But when taxpayers try to access these, it turns out to be a malicious file.
While much progress has been made by the IRS in the fight against stolen identity refund fraud, the battle against phishing emails and harassing phone calls remains ongoing and affects taxpayers of all incomes.
Remember: the IRS does not send unsolicited emails and never emails taxpayers about the status of refunds. Nor does it initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or social media channels to request personal or financial information. This includes requests for PIN numbers, passwords or similar access information for credit cards, banks or other financial accounts.
The IRS also doesn’t call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. Generally, the IRS will first mail a bill to any taxpayer who owes taxes.
Questions? Help is just a phone call away.