Tax scams and identity theft have wreaked havoc on both ordinary citizens and the IRS. As a result, taxpayers are advised to stay alert to prevent tax problems brought on by such scams by not giving out personal information online. Earlier this month, I wrote a blog post about a Better Business Bureau tax scam warning aimed at electronic filers. While thieves are becoming more adept at making correspondence look more authentic, when you examine it a little closer it becomes obvious that something is “not quite right.” Forbes’ Tax Girl, Kelly Phillips Erb recently wrote an article More Bogus IRS Emails Hit Inboxes about a fake IRS correspondence she recently received. Here is the e-mail:
Dear business owners,
Due to the changes in the taxation policies that have been recently ratified, IRS informs that LLC, C-Corporations and S-Corporations have to validate their EIN in order to confirm their actual status. You have 14-day period in order to examine all the changes and make necessary amendments. We are sorry to cause inconvenience.
For the details please refer to:
Internal Revenue Service Representative
Here are some tax help tip-offs to spot a fake tax scam e-mail:
- The above correspondence is difficult to read and contains grammatical errors.
- According to the article, the IP address was originated in Peru with links that direct you to all kinds of sites including a hypnotist site with a professional psychic.
- The IRS does not send e-mails asking you to share financial or personal information. Ever. If they were requesting a corporation to validate their EIN number, they would have done it via mail.
- Often called “Phishing”, thieves bait unsuspecting consumers via fraudulent e-mail messages appearing to come from legitimate businesses or organizations to gain personal information such as credit card and Social Security numbers to use in a variety of identity theft schemes.
What do you do if you receive a questionable email:
- If you receive the above message or email from the IRS you suspect is a fraud, forward the message to irs.gov website specifically to Report-Phishing. If the IRS truly wants to reach you, they will.
- Beware: Don’t click any attachments or links. If you do, be sure to run a virus scan on your computer immediately.
Because phishing is a gateway to identity theft; a major tax issue facing the IRS, taxpayers are asked to be proactive and diligent in reporting anything that has the potential of being criminal. The 2012 IRS “Dirty Dozen” Tax Scam list contains information about the types of scams and schemes out there and information on how to prevent them from happening in the first place.
More Tax Help, IRS News and Tax Relief Tips:
- IRS Warns of “Dirty Dozen” Tax Scams
- Identity Theft – A Growing IRS Problem
- Beware of Recent IRS Email Scams
- Latest IRS Tax Scam Warning
- Top Five Tax Scams and Schemes to Watch Out For