Phishing For Your Identity
February 24, 2016
This week, the IRS warned it has seen a 400% increase in e-mails or text messages that fraudulently use the IRS name or logo. These fake e-mails attempt to obtain taxpayers’ personal and financial information and steal their identity and assets; this type of scam via e-mail is called "phishing."
Some of the phishing scams include e-mails that appear to be official notices from the IRS Taxpayer Advocate Service, including a bogus case number, and fake IRS emails requiring taxpayers to verify their billing information. Recipients are directed to click on links that claim to provide information about the "advocate" assigned to the taxpayer’s case or to "review reported income." The links then lead to web pages that solicit personal information. (See "Phishing and Other Schemes Using the IRS Name.")
The IRS will never send any correspondence regarding taxes, refunds, direct debits or any other financial transactions via e-mail, text or any form of social media. The IRS will not request personal information, such as social security, bank account, credit cards or pin numbers via e-mail.
Taxpayers should not respond to the emails nor click on the links. Instead, please forward the scam emails to the IRS at email@example.com. For more information, visit the IRS Report Phishing web page.
While phishing scams are on the rise, some taxpayers have been receiving telephone calls claiming to originate from the IRS. The callers may say that the taxpayer owes money or is entitled to a large refund. Some callers even threaten arrest or revocation of a taxpayer’s driver’s license. Sometimes these calls are followed up with another fake call claiming to be from the local police department or the state motor vehicle department. If the phone is not answered, the scammers often leave an urgent callback request.
The IRS will never call to demand payment using a specific method, or ask for credit or debit card information over the phone.
If you receive a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, and you don’t have any reason to think that you owe any taxes, then report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at www.TIGTA.gov or call 1.800.366.4484. You should also contact the Federal Trade Commission and use their "FTC Complaint Assistant" at www.FTC.gov. Please add "IRS Telephone Scam" to the comments of your complaint.