Consumers Warned of New Surge in IRS E-mail Schemes during 2016 Tax Season; Tax Industry Also Targeted
IR-2016-28, Feb. 18, 2016
WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service renewed a consumer alert for e-mail schemes after seeing an approximate 400 percent surge in phishing and malware incidents so far this tax season.
The emails are designed to trick taxpayers into thinking these are official communications from the IRS or others in the tax industry, including tax software companies. The phishing schemes can ask taxpayers about a wide range of topics. E-mails can seek information related to refunds, filing status, confirming personal information, ordering transcripts and verifying PIN information.
Variations of these scams can be seen via text messages, and the communications are being reported in every section of the country.
"This dramatic jump in these scams comes at the busiest time of tax season," said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. "Watch out for fraudsters slipping these official-looking emails into inboxes, trying to confuse people at the very time they work on their taxes. We urge people not to click on these emails."
This tax season the IRS has observed fraudsters more frequently asking for personal tax information, which could be used to help file false tax returns.
When people click on these email links, they are taken to sites designed to imitate an official-looking website, such as IRS.gov. The sites ask for Social Security numbers and other personal information. The sites also may carry malware, which can infect people's computers and allow criminals to access your files or track your keystrokes to gain information.
Read the entire article at IRS website with additional reference sites.
Thieves are targeting mailboxes in search of tax documents to help them file fake returns and steal people’s tax refunds.
And if you think "I'm safe" because you have neighborhood mailboxes, think again:
Nearly a dozen cities have been hit in the past few weeks, and if the crooks got their hands on a W-2, they have everything they need to file a tax return in someone else’s name and claim their money.
The U.S. Postal Service says Elk Grove has seen the most recent mail thefts.
Janet Delgadillo lives near a mailbox cluster that was ripped open a couple of weeks ago on Glacier Park Way.
“It looked like they had some kind of screwdriver thing and worked it,” she said.
A neighbor’s surveillance camera caught the crooks in the act in the middle of the night. They pulled up in a car and tried jimmying open the boxes.
“That seems really scary, because you don’t know who’s looking at your stuff,” she said.
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