My article below is being reprinted because so many scams have grown out of the pandemic crisis when it comes to taxes, finances, stimulus payments and other things. These scams catch many people off guard. Not surprising, SCAMS are again on the IRS Dirty Dozen list of tax cheats for 2020. Just last week, I myself got a voice mail on my cell phone telling me I had to call a phone number ASAP since there was a warrant out for my arrest and police would be coming to my house to take me to jail !! Granted this scam literally had me laughing out loud, but many scams seem pretty legit.
The IRS, state tax agencies and the nation’s tax industry continue to see an upswing in data thefts from taxpayers and tax professionals as cyber criminals try to take advantage of COVID-19 and Economic Impact Payments to create new scams.
Identity thieves view the pandemic as a chance to exploit people, says IRS. They use every trick of their criminal trade to con people as well as steal valuable personal and financial information to help enable tax-related identity theft. In many ways, tax pros are one of the first lines of defense since they take extra measures of securing data.
IRS Criminal Investigation is actively working to combat scam artists trying to exploit Economic Impact Payments and other provisions related to coronavirus. So far, the scams CI has already seen look to prey on vulnerable taxpayers who are unaware of how the payments will reach them. IRS CI is prioritizing these types of investigations to help protect taxpayers and the tax system.
Avoid phishing scams
Identity thieves have stepped up phishing scam efforts to capitalize on COVID-19 and Economic Impact Payments. Crooks are targeting tax professionals as well as taxpayers.
Criminals are posing as clients or potential clients to tax professionals. . As people practice social distancing these days, criminals may exploit this process to try to trick people into opening links or attachments.
Taxpayers can report suspicious emails posing as the IRS to our *PHISHING mailbox at email@example.com.
Watch out for IRS impersonation scams
The IRS will not call, email or text anyone about Economic Impact Payments. These are impersonation scams by thieves seeking to steal bank account or other sensitive data. Do not fall for these scams.
Don’t forget security software
Everyone, taxpayers and tax professionals, should be using broad-based security software that protects not just their computers but mobile phones as well. Security features will help identify and stop potentially dangerous malware that can infect digital networks.
BOTTOM LINE, for my clients? If you are not sure something is from me, DON’T respond to it… send it to your SPAM folder. Email me direct, or call me by phone. If you have sensitive information, DON’T email it to me, but submit it to me through your free secure Verifyle account or send it through US Mail or other carrier like UPS or FedEx.