Tax News

New IRS Tax Scam: Targeting Innocent Taxpayers

“The new scheme involves a mailing coming in a cardboard envelope from a delivery service. The enclosed letter includes the IRS masthead 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.” -IR-2023-123

Over the past two decades, as a tax attorney, I have witnessed the incredible resilience and adaptability of scams. Today, I find myself obliged to share an emerging threat that targets innocent taxpayers like you – the new IRS tax scam.

Unveiling the New IRS Tax Scam: Alert Taxpayers Beware!

Imagine receiving a mysterious letter in your mailbox, claiming to be from the IRS. The envelope bears an official IRS logo and the letter inside contains some alarming news. You have a refund due, but there’s a catch – they need a photo of you and your bank account information to process it. This new IRS tax scam has put an unexpected twist on the traditional “phishing” scheme, targeting unsuspecting taxpayers through an unusual delivery service mailing method.

This creative scam strategy leverages the fears many people harbor about dealing with the IRS, while tapping into the anticipation of receiving a tax refund. It’s a dangerous combination that has successfully deceived many. But knowledge is power, and I am here to help arm you with that power.

Anatomy of the New IRS Tax Scam: Unclaimed Refunds and Fake Phone Number

This latest trickery operates by sending a physical letter to the taxpayer’s mailing address, purporting to be from the IRS. The scam letter instructs the recipient to upload a picture of themselves along with their bank account details on a particular website to receive a supposed tax refund.

These deceptive practices are designed to steal identities and access financial resources. This information can be used to commit further crimes, such as fraudulent withdrawals or identity theft.

The Devil in the Mail: Recognizing the Latest Scam Letter

It’s worth noting that the IRS will rarely contact taxpayers through mail about refunds. Instead, they usually deposit refunds directly into bank accounts or mail checks.

Here are some of the signs that a letter might be part of the new IRS tax scam:

  • The letter asks for a picture of the recipient and their bank account details.
  • The IRS logo or other elements on the envelope or letter may be distorted or appear unprofessional.
  • The letter instructs recipients to visit a specific website to provide information, rather than directing them to the official IRS website.

If you receive such a letter, remember: Do not follow any instructions or provide any information. Your security and financial well-being could be at stake.

From Alert to Action: Help Yourself and Others from Scammers

How can we protect ourselves from this new IRS tax scam? What can we do to help prevent others from falling prey to these malicious activities?

Firstly, it’s critical to know the IRS’s legitimate practices. The IRS will never ask for personal identification or financial information through mail or email. Should you be due a refund, they will send it directly to your bank account or mail you a check. Furthermore, any changes in your tax information will only be requested via a secure platform on the official IRS website.

Taking Steps to Safeguard Your Information

Should you receive a suspicious letter claiming to be from the IRS, do not provide any information or follow any links. Instead, do the following:

  • Report the letter to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) through their website or by calling 800-366-4484.
  • Forward any suspicious emails to [email protected].
  • Do not click on any links or download any attachments from suspicious emails.
  • Consider reporting the scam to your local law enforcement agency, especially if you have suffered financial loss.

Staying Vigilant: Navigating the Ever-evolving Landscape of Tax Scams

Remember, scam artists are becoming increasingly sophisticated and are continually changing their tactics to catch victims off guard. This new IRS tax scam is a stark reminder that we must stay vigilant and informed to protect ourselves and our hard-earned money.

As we traverse the ever-evolving landscape of tax scams, being alert and knowledgeable is our best defense. Let’s not allow the fear of the unknown to overshadow the power of informed action. The safety of your financial information and identity is, after all, your rightful control.

Through this knowledge sharing, I hope to provide you with the necessary information to recognize and combat this new IRS tax scam. Together, let’s stay one step ahead of the scammers.

Real Help with Fake Returns, Back Taxes, and IRS Debt

And remember, when in doubt, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. As a tax attorney with two decades of experience, I stand ready to assist you in navigating these complex issues, ensuring your peace of mind in this increasingly complex digital world.

Does the IRS send text messages?

The IRS adheres to strict communication guidelines to protect taxpayers. Typically, the IRS does not send text messages, nor does it initiate contact via social media or email soliciting personal or financial information. Initial communication from the IRS is usually done through a formal letter delivered by the U.S. Postal Service. Taxpayers should be wary of any text messages claiming to be from the IRS and avoid sharing sensitive information through these channels.

Why am I getting a letter from the IRS 2023?

In 2023, the IRS continues to communicate via letters for several critical reasons. As a taxpayer, you may receive a letter from the IRS due to an outstanding balance, a modification in your refund amount, or if the IRS needs clarification on your tax return. These are standard reasons the IRS initiates communication, and it’s essential to read and respond to these letters appropriately to ensure your tax matters are in order.

Will IRS ever contact you by phone?

As a rule, the IRS maintains a policy of initial contact through written correspondence, not by phone or email. Thus, if the IRS needs to communicate with you, their first mode of contact is typically a formal letter, not a phone call. It’s vital for taxpayers to be aware of this to avoid falling prey to scams posing as telephone contact from the IRS.

What is the IRS issue 2023 warning?

In its announcement IR-2023-123 released on July 3, 2023, the IRS issued a public warning to taxpayers, cautioning them about a new scam mailing in circulation. This deceptive scheme attempts to convince individuals that they are entitled to a tax refund. It’s crucial for taxpayers to stay vigilant, recognizing this as a scam and protecting their personal and financial information.

How do I know if the IRS email is real?

Recognizing a genuine IRS email is straightforward – there won’t be one. The IRS doesn’t initiate contact with taxpayers via email, text messages, or through social media to request personal or financial information. This policy includes requests for PINs, passwords, or any access data related to credit cards, banks, IRS website, or other financial accounts. As a taxpayer, any such communication claiming to be from the IRS agency should be treated with caution as it is likely fraudulent.