WASHINGTON – J. Russell George, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, announced the release of new public service announcements (PSAs) to educate taxpayers about the continuing threat of Internal Revenue Service (IRS) impersonation scams.
The English and Spanish-language PSAs are available on TIGTA’s YouTube Channel.
“IRS impersonation scams continue to plague Americans and have claimed victims in every State,” George said. “TIGTA’s new public service announcements share advice on how to recognize these scams. If you receive a suspicious phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, just hang up.”
Scammers undermine Federal tax administration by impersonating IRS employees in an effort to obtain personally identifiable information (PII) from unsuspecting taxpayers or to steal their money. Such impersonators may claim to be IRS employees on the telephone or may misuse IRS logos, seals, or symbols to create official-looking letters and e-mails.
The Internal Revenue Service today began its “Dirty Dozen” list for 2021 with a warning for taxpayers, tax professionals and financial institutions to be on the lookout for these 12 nefarious schemes and scams.
This year’s “Dirty Dozen” will be separated into four separate categories:
- pandemic-related scams like Economic Impact Payment theft;
- personal information cons including phishing, ransomware and phone “vishing;”
- ruses focusing on unsuspecting victims like fake charities and senior/immigrant fraud; and
- schemes that persuade taxpayers into unscrupulous actions such as Offer In Compromise mills and syndicated conservation easements.
The agency compiled the list into these categories based on who perpetuates the schemes and who they impact. In addition to today’s scams the IRS will highlight the other schemes over the next three days.
Tax season is also busy season for savvy criminals. Scammers impersonating the IRS either over-the-phone, by email or in-person can steal money from people. All taxpayers should stay vigilant against these schemes.
Here are some tips to help people recognize and avoid tax-related scams.
Email Phishing Scams
The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information. Generally, the IRS first mails a paper bill to a person who owes taxes. In some special situations, the IRS will call or come to a home or business.
IRS unveils ‘Dirty Dozen’ list of tax scams for 2020; Americans urged to be vigilant to these threats during the pandemic and its aftermath
The Internal Revenue Service announced its annual “Dirty Dozen” list of tax scams with a special emphasis on aggressive and evolving schemes related to coronavirus tax relief, including Economic Impact Payments.
This year, the Dirty Dozen focuses on scams that target taxpayers. The criminals behind these bogus schemes view everyone as potentially easy prey. The IRS urges everyone to be on guard all the time and look out for others in their lives.
“Tax scams tend to rise during tax season or during times of crisis, and scam artists are using pandemic to try stealing money and information from honest taxpayers,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “The IRS provides the Dirty Dozen list to help raise awareness about common scams that fraudsters use to target people. We urge people to watch out for these scams. The IRS is doing its part to protect Americans. We will relentlessly pursue criminals trying to steal your money or sensitive personal financial information.”
Taxpayers are encouraged to review the list in a special section on IRS.gov and be on the lookout for these scams throughout the year. Taxpayers should also remember that they are legally responsible for what is on their tax return even if it is prepared by someone else. Consumers can help protect themselves by choosing a reputable tax preparer.
The IRS urges taxpayers to refrain from engaging potential scammers online or on the phone. The IRS plans to unveil a similar list of enforcement and compliance priorities this year as well.
An upcoming series of press releases will emphasize the illegal schemes and techniques businesses and individuals use to avoid paying their lawful tax liability. Topics will include such scams as abusive micro captives and fraudulent conservation easements.
Here are this year’s ‘Dirty Dozen’ scams:
Washington – The Internal Revenue Service today warned of a new twist tied to an old scam aimed at international taxpayers and non-resident aliens. In this scam, criminals use a fake IRS Form W-8BEN to solicit detailed personal identification and bank account information from victims.
Here’s how the scam works. Criminals mail or fax a letter indicating that although individuals are exempt from withholding and reporting income tax, they need to authenticate their information by filling out a phony version of Form W-8BEN, Certificate of Foreign Status of Beneficial Owner for United States Tax Withholding and Reporting. Recipients are requested to fax the information back. Read More
I have written frequently about the multitude of tax scams.
And once again, the scammers have found a way to play to and outwit your insatiable curiosity. Here’s one of the latest scams to be aware of, and how it works.
Scammers know that more and more people are screening and not answering calls from unrecognized or private numbers. So now, the crooks have developed software that allows them to display irresistible ‘fake’ numbers. Read More
WASHINGTON ― The Internal Revenue Service is cautioning taxpayers to avoid the dangers of “ghost” tax return preparers.
According to the IRS, a ghost preparer is paid to prepare a tax return, but does not sign it, either electronically or on paper, as the paid preparer. These phantom preparers who won’t put their name on the tax return are a warning sign for taxpayers of a potential scam.
Here’s how it works. The ghost preparer can print the paper return for their client and tells them to sign and mail it to the IRS. Or, for electronically-filed returns, they will prepare it but won’t digitally sign it as the paid preparer. Read More