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Taxpayer Alert: Be Aware Latest IRS Phone Scam

by: Smith and Howard

April 1, 2016

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Tax season is here and another round of opportunistic scammers are, too. This year, these scammers are posing as tax officials requesting that individuals answer a few questions before the IRS can process their tax returns. The IRS reports that this latest scam includes a request for personal financial information such as Social Security numbers, bank accounts and credit cards. The IRS, which has seen a 400% increase in phishing schemes this year, reminds taxpayers that the IRS will not call consumers asking for personal tax information or using threats to force a taxpayer to make an immediate payment.

Phone calls are not the only way scammers are targeting taxpayers and businesses. We recently had business clients receive fraudulent emails from scammers posing as payroll companies seeking data on personnel.

The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration reports approximately 896,000 phone scam contacts since October 2013, and more than 5,000 victims who have collectively paid over $26.5 million as the result of a scam.

In 2015, the IRS, states and the tax industry together launched a public awareness campaign called Taxes. Security. Together. to help educate taxpayers about the need to maintain security online and to recognize phishing and other schemes.

Suggestions include:

  • Always use security software with firewall and anti-virus protections. Make sure the security software is always turned on and can automatically update. Encrypt sensitive files such as tax records you store on your computer. Use strong passwords.
  • Learn to recognize and avoid phishing emails, threatening calls and texts from thieves posing as legitimate organizations such as your bank, credit card company and even the IRS. Do not click on links or download attachments from unknown or suspicious emails.
  • Protect your personal data. Do not routinely carry your Social Security card. Do make sure your tax records are secure. Treat your personal information like you do your cash; don’t leave it lying around.

For a list of email scam indicators, read our article from earlier this year here.

As always, it is important to consult with your tax professional before releasing any sensitive and personal information. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to call us at 404.874.6244 or simply fill out the form below and we would be glad to help.

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If you have any questions and would like to connect with a team member please call 404-874-6244 or contact an advisor below.

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