The IRS has seen an approximate 400 percent surge in phishing and malware incidents so far in the 2016 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. 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, which could be used to help file false tax returns. The sites also may carry malware, which can infect people’s computers and allow criminals to access files or track keystrokes to gain information. For more details, see:
- IR-2016-28, Consumers Warned of New Surge in IRS E-mail Schemes during 2016 Tax Season; Tax Industry Also Targeted, and
- IR-2016-15, Phishing Remains on the IRS “Dirty Dozen” List of Tax Scams for the 2016 Filing Season
For more in tax scams, see IRS, Tax Scams/Consumer Alerts.