IRS Warns About Summer Tax Scams

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IRS letterhead on wood deskIn late July, the IRS issued a new warning about the barrage of tax scams currently being perpetrated against individual and business taxpayers. While several warnings have recently been issued about the Employee Retention Credit, this update includes information about new scams that purport to help resolve tax problems, false claims of “banned” returns, assistance claiming a third round of Economic Impact Payments, and, unfortunately, more. Bad actors are not only relying on emails to trick taxpayers into revealing sensitive information but are now leveraging text messages as well. Since communications may seem official, the IRS wants to warn taxpayers about the latest schemes. To help clients, prospects, and others, JLK Rosenberger has summarized the key details below.

Most Recently Reported Scams – Summer 2023

Economic Impact Payment Scam
This is the highest volume scheme that bad actors are currently using. In fact, since the July 4th holiday, the IRS has received thousands of emails about this tactic. The truth is the third round of Economic Impact Payments occurred over two years ago, in 2021. No additional impact payments are being made, but scammers continue to use this approach while modifying the message.

It is common for scammers to send an email with titles that include “Third Round of Economic Impact Payment Status Available.” The emails often include poor grammar, misspellings, and language that does not make sense. The IRS does not send out communications with such errors, which should indicate that the communication is not authentic. These emails encourage recipients to click on a link to complete an application. Unfortunately, any information given will be used for fraudulent purposes.

Delivery Service Scam
Another scam has recently surfaced designed to mislead individuals that a tax refund is owed. It involves a mailing arriving in a cardboard envelope from a delivery service. Inside is an official-looking letter stating the communication is in reference to an “unclaimed refund.” This is false and designed to trick taxpayers into revealing personal information, which scammers can use for nefarious purposes. If such a letter is received, it is fraudulent and should be disregarded.

Help You Fix It Scam
Scammers are very creative and resourceful, and that’s why these individuals rely on a mix of written and electronic communication. In this scam, fraudsters create a sender name for a text that sounds official, such as “gov-irs-accnnt2023”. From this sender, taxpayers will receive messages about a problem with their return. The text includes a link that asks the individual to provide personal information claiming the issue can be quickly resolved. Like other scams, the messages are often poorly written, with spelling and grammatical errors.

Security Reminders About Scams

Taxpayers should be aware of the various schemes targeting individuals and businesses. Remember, these bad actors want personal information to be used for identity theft or much worse. Almost all of the scams involve sending a communication (email, text, or phone) that appears legitimate but is false. The IRS never initiates contact by email, text, or social media regarding a bill or refund.

Contact Us

Unfortunately, bad actors continue to intensify the creativity and frequency of these malicious scams. When unsolicited or “strange” communication is received about a refund or return processing issue, it is best to contact your provider for additional guidance. A qualified tax professional can verify the authenticity and assist with next steps. If you have questions about the information outlined above or need assistance with a tax or accounting issue, JLK Rosenberger can help. For additional information, call 949-860-9902 or click here to contact us. We look forward to speaking with you soon.