Officials this month warned taxpayers to watch out for a new scam after receiving an uptick of reports about unsolicited emails from imposters claiming to represent the IRS.
Some of the recent scam emails included subject lines like “Automatic Income Tax Reminder” or “Electronic Tax Return Reminder,” officials said. They include links to websites that look like IRS.gov, but aren’t the actual IRS website. When a user clicks to access files purportedly about their refund, electronic return or tax account, they inadvertently download malware.
The scammers can then gain control of the computer or track every keystroke, learning passwords and other sensitive data, officials warned.
“The IRS does not send emails about your tax refund or sensitive financial information,” IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said. “This latest scheme is yet another reminder that tax scams are a year-round business for thieves. We urge you to be on guard at all times.”
Officials said they’ve worked with state tax agencies and the tax industry to combat stolen identity refund fraud, but people still remain vulnerable to scams by imposters sending phony emails or making annoying phone calls.
It’s important to remember that the IRS doesn’t initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or social media, officials said. Anyone requesting personal or financial info like PIN numbers, passwords or account information on those channels is not working for the IRS.
The IRS also doesn’t call to demand immediate payment using a specific method like a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer, officials said. They will usually mail you a bill instead.