IRS Issues Warnings Ahead of Tax Season

( – As tax filing season approaches, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is issuing a warning for tax professionals and taxpayers to be aware of potential scams. The warning comes as the IRS and its Security Summit partners, which include 42 state tax agencies and other tax-related businesses, observe National Tax Security Awareness Week.

IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel urged people to guard their personal information carefully, as identity thieves use a variety of techniques in their scams. He added that people should be cautious when it comes to unexpected messages regarding their taxes, as “scammers will regularly pose as the IRS” or even as “others in the tax industry.”

Identity thieves may use phishing emails that promise phony tax refunds or false allegations of tax fraud, which appear to come from the IRS or others in the tax industry. A similar technique known as “smishing” messages, sent via text message, could claim the taxpayer’s account has been placed on hold or claim there has been unusual activity and offer “solutions” to restore the taxpayer’s account. To fool taxpayers, the IRS warned that identity thieves could also use recent tragedies and news events.

The IRS stated that most legitimate contacts are initiated through the mail, adding that people should not respond to or click on links in tax-related phishing emails or smishing messages. The IRS warned people to be cautious regarding emails about taxes that appear to be from family or friends but are from a compromised account. The IRS stated that it does not call taxpayers without also mailing a bill, and it does not ask taxpayers for credit card information over the phone.

The IRS warned tax professionals that identity thieves could pose as potential clients in order to gain access to a company’s systems, enabling them to file a fake tax return.

Individuals should report the scams by sending the email or a copy of the text message as an attachment to [email protected].

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