DID the Internal Revenue Service just scam me?

With just a few weeks away before the dreaded April 15th filing deadline, taxpayers have more to fear than the IRS.Now they’ve got to be on the lookout for bogus IRS emails. Most people don’t realize the IRS does not initiate emails.If they receive an unexpected email from the IRS, chances are it’s a phishing attempt to collect personal information about the taxpayer.Although the emails may take on different looks and approaches to lull the taxpayer into a position of disclosing confidential personal information, all the emails show the IRS in the sender line and typically look quite official.Concerns about questionable emails should be directed to the IRS’s criminal investigations unit.

A phishing email may tell the taxpayer they’ve overpaid their taxes by $500 and are entitled to get a refund if they fill-out a form providing some additional information.The sender may even go so far as to tell the taxpayer there is a deadline for sending the information (i.e. send your response within 5 business days to ensure a prompt refund wired directly into your account and to avoid IRS garnishments, IRS levies, IRS liens and/or fines and even criminal prosecution) so that the sender may get the taxpayer’s bank account information.

In another form of the fraudulent IRS email, taxpayers are told that the IRS has determined they are eligible for a refund of $15,000.If you want the money (and, who doesn’t?) you are directed to click onto a hyperlink contained within the email and redirected to complete a form soliciting all kinds of confidential personal information.The scammers then use the information to empty the taxpayer’s bank account and steal his/her identity.

Chances are if it sounds too good to be true (i.e. the IRS is giving you money) it probably is too good to be true. Protect yourself against these scammers.Stay current and aware of your tax liabilities and avoid owing back taxes or having unfiled returns.The more you stay on top of your financial situation the less likely a scam such as this might catch you off guard.Remember, to avoid being a victim of a bogus IRS email stay alert and be vigilant to protect your confidential information.

 

Segal, Cohen & Landis
9100 Wilshire Blvd. Ste. 601E
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
(310) 285-3999

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