Tax Security Awareness

The 2017 tax filing season opened January 23, 2017. To ensure you are aware of the latest scam attempts and new security measures we have summarized them both below.

The first thing you should know is the IRS doesn’t initiate contact with taxpayers by telephone calls, email, text messages or social media channels. In addition, the IRS does not threaten taxpayers with lawsuits, imprisonment or other enforcement actions.

IRS-Impersonation Telephone Scams

These callers will provide false IRS information, such as badge and station numbers and names, to get taxpayers to provide them with personal information or obtain payments. Victims are told they owe money and must pay immediately using a debit card or a wire transfer. In other cases, they are told they have a refund to get victims to share their personal information.

The IRS will never:

  • Call to demand immediate payment using specific payment methods (debit or credit card, wire transfer). The IRS will generally send taxpayers a bill or notice through the mail.
  • Request payment without giving the taxpayers all the information they need to review the bill.
  • Request credit card, debit card or banking information over the phone.

Email Phishing Scam

Scam emails will try to obtain information from taxpayers by getting them to click on a link that will take them to a website where official information will be requested. The goal of this scam is to get the personal information from which a false return can be filed. Some emails also contain viruses, which can allow scammers to access your files and obtain personal information.

Remember to:

  • Avoid phishing emails, texts or calls that appear to be from the IRS. If in doubt, go to the IRS’ website instead.
  • Don’t open email attachments unless you are sure who the sender is and what the attachment’s contents are.
  • Use pop-up blocker.
  • Download and install software only from websites you know are secure.

Identity Theft – The New Safeguards

The IRS has implemented additional security steps in order to keep taxpayer personal information safe. About 50 million taxpayers will have to enter a 16-character code found on their Form W-2 in order to be able to electronically file their tax returns.

Additionally, according to a new tax law change, some taxpayers claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit or the Additional Child Tax Credit will have their refunds on hold until February 15 – February 27, depending on the complexity of the return and their banking and financial institutions services.