Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Email scams and Tax Season

The IRS has issued an alert to taxpayers and tax preparers to be on the
lookout for e-mail schemes that attempt to obtain their personal and tax
information by way of phishing or malware that is contained in an
unsolicited e-mail. Incidents of this type have increased approximately
400 percent from last year.

It is important to keep in mind the IRS or State taxing agencies do not
initiate contact with taxpayers by e-mail to request personal or
financial information. This includes any type of electronic
communication, such as text messages and social media channels.

Phishing works as follows:
An individual receives an official looking e-mail from what appears to be
an official source such as the IRS or State tax agency. The underlying
message frequently asks the individual to update important information by
clicking on a web link. Once the individual clicks on the link they are
taken to a webpage that appears to be an official page of the agency.
These sites can also contain malware that can infect their computers and
allow criminals to access their computer files or track their keystrokes
to gain information.

The IRS is urging individuals to not click on links contained in
unsolicited e-mails that ask them to update important personal and/or tax
information. If they receive one of these e-mails they should forward it to the IRS at phishing@irs.gov.

Examples of subject lines and underlying texts that the IRS has seen in
these e-mails are:

- Wanting information concerning their tax refund

- Asking the individual to update their filing details