The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) kicked off its annual "Dirty Dozen" awareness campaign about common tax scams for 2018 with a reminder that phishing schemes are still a serious threat to personal information safety, and are evolving. The most recent variation on phishing (previously described here) involves an unexpected deposit into the bank account of a target. Criminals are filing fraudulent tax returns, and directing refunds to be deposited into real bank accounts of victims. The criminals then call the victim who received the deposit and demand the return of the funds as erroneous.
Other phishing schemes include hacking into e-mail accounts, posing as a tax professional or bank employee, and creating fake websites to collect personal data.
The IRS offers this advice if you believe you have been targeted in a phishing scheme:
If a taxpayer receives an unsolicited email that appears to be from either the IRS or an organization closely linked to the IRS, such as the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), they should report it by sending it o [email protected]. Learn more by going to the Report Phishing and Online Scams page on IRS.gov.
Tax professionals who receive unsolicited and suspicious emails that appear to be from the IRS or related to the e-Services program also should report it by sending it to [email protected].
It is important to keep in mind the IRS generally does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information. This includes any type of electronic communication, such as text messages and social media channels.
For more information on this tax scam, click here.