The unfortunate reality is that scammers have perpetrated practically every aspect of daily life. There seems to be no end to the suspicious calls and texts designed specifically to steal personal information. In fact, bad actors rely on various means of communication to target victims including email, texts, and even phone calls. Scammers typically direct recipients to a website (which appears authentic) and then request sensitive information such as the social security number and date of birth. Once obtained the information is used for identity theft or much worse. To avoid falling victim to these tactics it is important to be aware of the latest scams.
At the end of last month, the IRS issued a new warning about the most frequently reported tax scams. Targeting taxpayers with deceptive messaging is another avenue to personal information since most must submit an annual tax return. The scams include the Economic Impact Payment, claim your tax refund, help you fix it, and other scams. Each uses deception to gain compliance from the recipient. To help clients, prospects, and others, WhippleWood CPAs has provided a summary of the key details below.
Economic Impact Payment Scheme
This scheme which is being perpetrated via email uses recent events to deceive recipients into thinking there is another round of Economic Impact Payments. This is the highest volume email scheme reported to the agency. Scam emails include titles such as: “Third Round of Economic Impact Payment Status Available” and are often riddled with spelling and grammatical errors, for example:.
“Dear Tax Payer, We hope this message finds you well. We are writing to inform you abount an important matter regarding your recent tax return filing. Our record indicate that we have received your tax return for the fiscal inconsistencies or missing information that require your attention and clarification. You will receive a tax refund of $976.00 , We will process this amount once you have submitted the document we need for the steps to claim your tax refund.
Sender : INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE”
The email is false. The third round of Economic Impact Payments were issued in 2021. There have not been any additional payments authorized by Congress.
Claim Your Tax Refund Scheme
A common lure is the promise of free or overlooked money, including tax refunds. The IRS reported an increase in the emails and text messages about tax refunds which suggest the recipient is somehow due additional money. Mostly perpetrated through email, the messages use headlines directing people to “Claim Your Tax Refund Online.” As is common with other schemes, these are filled with grammatical and spelling errors which should indicate the email is false.
Help You Fix It Scheme
Another lure is to fabricate an “issue” with the IRS and then offer to help resolve the matter quickly and easily. The IRS reported a sharp increase in the number of text messages which plays off this angle. The messages usually originate from an official sender such as “govirs-accnnt2023.” The message includes variations on the concept that there is something wrong with the tax return, but not to worry, the sender can help to resolve everything if the recipient simply clicks on a link. Of course, the link takes one to an official looking site, but ultimately it is designed to steal personal information.
The IRS never initiates contact with taxpayers by email, text, or social media about a bill or refund. Denver individuals and businesses should be vigilant against such fraudulent schemes. If you have questions about the information outlined above or need assistance with a tax or accounting issue, WhippleWood CPAs can help. For additional information call 303-989-7600 or click here to contact us. We look forward to speaking with you soon.