PHOENIX, Arizona — The Internal Revenue Service has warned taxpayers to watch out for fake emails or websites created to steal personal information. These “phishing” schemes continue to be on the annual IRS list of “Dirty Dozen” tax scams for the 2015 filing season.
“The IRS won’t send you an email about a bill or refund out of the blue. Don’t click on one claiming to be from the IRS that takes you by surprise,” said John Koskinen, IRS commissioner. “I urge taxpayers to be wary of clicking on strange emails and websites. They may be scams to steal your personal information.”
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Video courtesy of the IRS, St. George News
Compiled annually, the “Dirty Dozen” lists a variety of common scams that taxpayers may encounter anytime, but many of these schemes peak during filing season as people prepare their returns or find people to help with their taxes.
Illegal scams can lead to significant penalties and interest and possible criminal prosecution. IRS Criminal Investigation works closely with the Department of Justice to shut down scams and prosecute the criminals behind them.
Stop and think before clicking
Phishing is a scam typically carried out through unsolicited email or a fake website posing as a legitimate site to lure potential victims and prompt them to provide valuable personal and financial information. Armed with this information, a criminal can commit identity theft or financial theft.
If you receive 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, report it by sending it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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. The IRS has information online that can help you protect yourself from email scams.
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