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IRS Issues Warning on Tax Season Scams: Stay Vigilant Against Fraud

As the upcoming tax filing season looms, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is sounding the alarm, cautioning both taxpayers and tax professionals to be vigilant against emerging scams that could compromise sensitive information. The warning comes as part of the National Tax Security Awareness Week, an initiative in collaboration with the Security Summit, which includes 42 state tax agencies and various entities associated with the tax community.

Commissioner’s Call for Caution

IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel emphasized the relentless nature of identity thieves, urging individuals to exercise caution with their personal information. He highlighted the deceptive tactics employed by scammers who often pose as the IRS, state tax agencies, or other entities within the tax industry. The heightened anxiety during tax season makes individuals susceptible to elaborate traps set by scam artists through unexpected messages.

Exploiting News Events and Tragedies

The IRS disclosed that identity thieves are not only persistent but also opportunistic, using recent news events and tragedies as part of their strategy to deceive taxpayers. This underscores the importance of remaining cautious and verifying the legitimacy of communications, especially during the tax filing season set to begin in mid-January 2024.

Scams Targeting Tax Professionals

One prevalent scam involves identity thieves reaching out to tax professionals, masquerading as potential clients through email or phone calls. The aim is to gain access to a company’s systems, enabling the fraudsters to file fake tax returns and secure illegitimate refunds. Taxpayers and professionals alike are urged to be cautious and verify the authenticity of unexpected communications.

Warning Against Phishing and Smishing

Taxpayers should remain on high alert for phishing emails that fraudulently appear to be from the IRS or other legitimate entities. These emails often promise fake tax refunds or falsely allege tax fraud. Additionally, “smishing” messages, delivered via text, may claim account issues or present fake unusual activity reports, attempting to lure recipients into responding. The IRS strongly advises against responding to such messages and encourages individuals to report scams by sending emails or text attachments to

Authenticity of IRS Communications

The IRS reminds taxpayers that it primarily initiates contact through regular mail. Unexpected messages received via email, text, or social media regarding bills or tax refunds should be treated with skepticism. The IRS does not typically communicate through these channels for such matters.

Guarding Against Malware and Ransomware

Partners in the IRS Security Summit underscore the importance of never clicking on unsolicited communications claiming to be from the IRS or other entities in the tax community. Clicking on such links may introduce malware or ransomware onto the device, compromising the user’s system or files.

In conclusion, the IRS’s proactive warning serves as a crucial reminder for individuals to stay vigilant, verify the authenticity of communications, and report any suspicious activity. As technology evolves, so do the tactics of identity thieves, making it imperative for taxpayers and tax professionals to stay informed and cautious in the face of potential scams.

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