Its tax season, and that means you should keep an eye out for tax scams that will run rampant this time of year. One such scam that fraudsters are taking advantage of are online tax scams. How this works is the victim receives an e-mail requesting that he or she completes an updated version of the government’s W-2 form because of “important changes” within the forms. The updated form is conveniently attached to the e-mail and it appears to have come directly from the IRS.
The red flag here is that the IRS does not send unsolicited emails to taxpayers. Furthermore, the IRS does not discuss tax account information with taxpayers via email or use email to solicit sensitive financial and personal information from taxpayers.
Unfortunately, people who don’t recognize the email as a tax phishing scheme will end up divulging their personal information to be later used for fraud purposes. Also, the attachment downloaded could have malicious software designed to search a computer for bank-account numbers, credit-card numbers, or passwords and PINS.
If you happen to receive any suspicious IRS-related emails, it’s recommended you forward/email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. The agency can trace the e-mail to the Internet server that sent it. If you have been scammed, you can file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov.