The IRS has taken the step of urging taxpayers to be aware of emails and calls that can lead to people giving up their personal info to cybercriminals.
The IRS has been telling taxpayers to take more care than before during this time. They has also reminded people that the IRS does not call taxpayers to collect or verify financial information in order to get a faster refund. The IRS also will never email nor text you asking for any information.
Cyberthieves have been taking advantage of people in times of trouble, and now that we are literally in the middle of a global pandemic, these scams are definitely on the rise.
Don’t Fall for It!
The IRS has seen many more phishing scams than ever before. It is easier for scammers to get money than you might think. All they have to do is give the IRS fake bank information. In most cases these days, the IRS will direct deposit payments right into the bank accounts of taxpayers. If you have never provided this, you can go online and do it…but so can scammers. If the IRS doesn’t get this information, it begins mailing checks, and of course, these can be intercepted by a scammer.
It is also important that you realize that people who have retired and don’t have to file a tax return simply get a check. They don’t have to do anything, and this makes retirees common targets for cybercriminals. The bad guys often reach out to older people by phone, mail, or email and ask for information such as their bank account number or Social Security number in order to verify their check. But remember…the IRS will never contact taxpayers via phone.
There are a number of signs that something could be a scam, and the IRS wants to remind people of this. Here are some of those signs:
- In the case of the stimulus checks, the official name is the “Economic Impact Payment.” If you see other terms, like “Stimulus Check” or “Stimulus Payment,” it is probably a fake.
- If you are asked to sign over a check to someone, it is definitely a scam.
- If you are asked to verify your financial or personal information via text, mail, phone, or social media, it is a scam.
- If the check you receive doesn’t look right, it is a scam.
- If someone contacts you and says you can get your check faster if you give them more information, it is a scam.
How to Report an IRS Scam
If you think you are a victim of this type of scam, you should report it. If you get a fishy email, you should forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Experts also recommend that you don’t engage with cybercriminals on the internet or the phone. You can read more about this on the IRS website.
If you have questions about how the IRS is dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, you can look at the agencies Coronavirus Tax Relief page on the internet.
Finally, consider identity theft protection services. While none of these services will prevent tax related identity theft, there are expert restoration agents on the ready to work with potential victims of this type of crime.
ROBERT SICILIANO CSP, is a #1 Best Selling Amazon author, CEO of CreditParent.com, the architect of the CSI Protection certification; a Cyber Social and Identity and Personal Protection security awareness training program.