IRS’ Dirty Dozen Tax Scams — “Phishing”

I would have probably done a blog on this topic anyways, but being a recent recipient of a “phishing” scheme, this topic now meant something more to me.  I have never been accused of being the sharpest tool in the shed, but I am also aware of some of these schemes and, even when I received the phishing call….I gotta tell you, I knew it was fake, but it still initially startled me.

What happened….?

Mine was weird.  I actually received a call on my cell phone and it registered as IRS in Seattle, WA.  My first thought was “now, how does that work?”  I didn’t answer the call but listened to the voicemail, which was fairly threatening in nature, saying that I owed the IRS money and to immediately return the call to “X” number.  Then came the struggle….I knew it was fake,  shouldn’t even return the call….but, as they say, curiosity killed the cat.  Right or wrong, I justified calling back to the number as I thought, “well, it is just my cell phone.”

So, I called….and received a voice recording.  Weird, bizarre.  The gist though is that even though I probably shouldn’t have even called the number back, I was initially taken aback, and I am not gullible to these types of things.  Bottom line:  these crooks can make things sound real….even when you know they aren’t.

The IRS recently distributed their “Dirty Dozen”…a list of 12 (or so) tax scams they wish to educate taxpayers with.  One that has always been recently on the list are phishing activities, both phone and email.  Please read the recent IRS press release on this matter.  Even though we know these phishing schemes to be fraudulent, the bad guys keep trying to trip us up.

One simple thing to always keep in mind:  The IRS does not send emails to taxpayers and, in the vast majority of cases, do not make phone calls.  In fact, the times they call is when it has been pre-arranged to benefit the taxpayer.  If you can keep in mind that the IRS will always contact you via mail; therefore, don’t be tempted  to open a bogus email or enter into any phone call/conversation with someone representing to be from the IRS.  You will know it is fake.

View some actual examples of actual phishing email scams.  Sample #1. Sample #2.

As always, the information provided is intended to be educational in nature.  It is not intended, nor should it be interpreted as, any form of tax, legal, financial or investment advice.  You must always consult with your respective professional in all such matters.