The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently issued a warning to taxpayers to be on the lookout for a new scam that tries to mislead people into believing that they are owed a tax refund.
The new scheme involves a mailing in a cardboard envelope from a delivery service. The letter includes the IRS logo and wording that the notice is in relation to your unclaimed refund. Like many scams, the letter includes contact information and a phone number that do not belong to the IRS. The letter seeks a variety of sensitive personal information from taxpayers including detailed pictures of a driver’s license, cellphone number, bank account/ routing information, Social Security number – all of which can be used to steal your identity and your assets.
An unusual feature of this scam is that it tries tricking people to email or phone very detailed personal information in hopes of stealing valuable information. This letter contains a variety of warning signs, including some awkwardly worded requests, odd punctuation, and a mixture of fonts as well as inaccuracies.
Taxpayers should always be alert to fake communications posing as legitimate organizations in the tax and financial community, including the IRS and state tax authorities. These messages can arrive in the form of an unsolicited text or email to lure unsuspecting victims to provide valuable personal and financial information that can lead to identity theft. Always remember that the IRS never initiates contact with taxpayers by email, text or social media regarding a bill or tax refund or to request personal or financial information. Never click on any unsolicited communication claiming to be the IRS as it may surreptitiously load malware allowing imposters to gain control of your computer or secretly download software that tracks every keystroke, eventually giving them passwords to sensitive accounts. It may also be a way for malicious hackers to load ransom-ware that keeps you from accessing your system and files. Always remain on high alert at all times.
Skeptical about mail received purporting to be from the IRS? Reach out to Melissa Howell, CPA, Principal, or any Tronconi Segarra & Associates tax advisor for assistance with the authenticity of any such correspondence. Melissa can be reached at 716.633.1373 or email@example.com.