E-mail Scams on the Prowl– Better Be Safe Than Sorry!
Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of U.S. warns about e-mail scams looking to steal your personal information, explores ways to manage the situation
If you are an individual who pays his tax on time and follows all the rules in the book, but goes a little easy when it comes to verifying the veracity of different tax claims, it’s time for you wake up and take stock of the reality. Yes, you need to be on your toes if you want to shoo away e-mail scammers. E-mail scammers, unfortunately, are on the rise and are taking unsuspecting taxpayers for a ride. The Internal Revenue Service has already raised the alarm loud and clear, warning taxpayers to be on high alert.
IRS issued a statement saying that it has observed a significant increase in e-mail phishing attacks in recent times. Phishing is a term used to describe identity theft taking place over the Internet. According to them, anyone having access to your e-mail account can start these attacks. Although the agency didn’t provide any specific figures regarding the number of people affected by the recent attacks, it is nevertheless expected that the number could be much higher, perhaps higher than what was reported in 2008 when 17,000 taxpayers claimed that they had been targeted by scammers.
If you fall in the lower income group or are an elderly person, you need to be extra careful. It is because these two groups have been the worst sufferers of the recent attacks.
Scams that you need to be particularly aware of include:
- Imaginary claims promising you refunds or rebates for excess or withheld Social Security benefits
- Fraudulent refund claims aimed at ‘Low Income- No Documents Tax Returns’
- Claims that you can use Treasury form 1080 to transfer money to the IRS from Social Security Administration, which will initiate payout from the IRS
There are many other ways that the scammers adopt to steal your identity. So, it is a good practice to go through the alerts that IRS releases on a periodic basis. These alerts identify schemes that unfairly use IRS logo, its name, or website to get access to your account.
If you suspect that you are being targeted, immediately call the IRS at (800) 829-1040 or visit the website irs.gov.