HOUSEHOLDS are being warned about a tax scam email pretending to be from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
The fake emails come from criminals who claim to be IRS officials and demand payment for a tax bill.
However, the outstanding payment isn’t real and instead you give up your personal and financial data to con artists – and risk losing your cash.
The IRS issued the warning on Twitter yesterday, saying: “If you get an IRS phishing email to lure you to give up personal and financial info, don’t reply to the scam.”
It added: “You’ve heard the story: con artists claim to be IRS officials demanding payment of a bogus tax bill.
“Don’t fall for it. Know the tell-tale sign of a scam.”
How to protect yourself from scams
BY keeping these tips in mind, you can avoid getting caught up in a scam:
- Firstly, remember that if something seems too good to be true, it normally is.
- Check brands are “verified” on Facebook and Twitter pages – this means the company will have a blue tick on its profile.
- Look for grammatical and spelling errors; fraudsters are notoriously bad at writing proper English. If you receive a message from a “friend” informing you of a freebie, consider whether it’s written in your friend’s normal style.
- If you’re invited to click on a URL, hover over the link to see the address it will take you to – does it look genuine?
- To be on the really safe side, don’t click on unsolicited links in messages, even if they appear to come from a trusted contact.
- Be careful when opening email attachments too. Fraudsters are increasingly attaching files, usually PDFs or spreadsheets, which contain dangerous malware.
- If you receive a suspicious message then report it to the company, block the sender and delete it.
- If you think you’ve fallen for a scam, report it to the Federal Trade Commission on 1-877-382-4357 or use its online fraud reporting tool.
The official IRS account for tax professionals on Twitter also warned the scam puts tax refunds at risk.
The warning comes as the deadline to submit your tax return – and pay any tax owed – was last week on May 17.
The average 2020 tax refund in the week to April 26 was $2,900.
If you receive a demand for payment after the deadline, don’t panic and double-check with the IRS directly whether you owe tax.
The same applies if you get an email about a refund – don’t give away your financial information, as it’s likely a scam.
The IRS said it doesn’t initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or social media channels to request personal or financial data.
Yet thousands of people have lost millions of dollars and their personal information to tax scams.
Scammers target taxpayers in a wide range of views, including regular mail, telephone or via email.
If you think you’ve fallen for a scam, report it to the Federal Trade Commission on 1-877-382-4357 or use its online fraud reporting tool.
You should also report it to your bank as soon as possible.
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