07/25/2023 in Accountant

Identity Thieves Ramp Up Tax Scams During Summer, IRS Issues Warning

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The IRS issued a stern warning on July 21 about an upsurge in tax scams during the summer months, with identity thieves bombarding taxpayers and tax professionals with email and text messages. These fraudulent communications make enticing promises of tax-related benefits but aim to steal sensitive taxpayer information through phishing websites. IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel emphasized the urgency of staying vigilant and avoiding falling victim to these deceitful tactics.

Among the prevalent scams reported, many revolve around false claims of a third round of Economic Impact Payments. Such messages often contain embedded URLs leading to phishing websites. To avoid falling into the trap, the IRS urged individuals to be wary of emails with spelling errors and factual inaccuracies.

Another deceptive scheme targeted by scammers is the Misleading Employee Retention Credit (ERC) claim. Fraudsters create fake government letters and entice individuals to make improper ERC claims by offering quick eligibility determinations and withholding key information.

In a bid to sound official, identity thieves have resorted to the “Help You Fix It” text scheme. These messages purport to address issues with the recipient’s tax return and encourage them to click on a link for resolution.

The Delivery Service Scam is a newer tactic used to mislead individuals into believing they are owed a tax refund. Perpetrators send mailings in cardboard envelopes from delivery services, featuring the IRS masthead and claiming to be related to an unclaimed refund.

Yet another scam involves email and text messages falsely suggesting that recipients have overlooked their tax refunds. One recent variation used a blue headline urging people to “Claim your tax refund online.” However, these messages often contain misspellings and encourage recipients to click on suspicious links.

The IRS also cautioned tax professionals to remain vigilant against scammers impersonating legitimate organizations in the tax and financial community, including the IRS and state agencies.

Given the severity of the situation, taxpayers and tax professionals must exercise extreme caution during this wave of summer tax scams to protect their sensitive information and financial well-being.