The IRS reported successfully blocking over 900,000 fraudulently filed tax refunds from being distributed last year, which would have totaled $6.5 billion being paid to scammers. But, over 1.5 million possible fraudulent tax returns were processed and have paid out an estimated $5.2 billion in tax refunds.
One of the common practices of scammers is sending out emails claiming to be from the IRS and telling taxpayers they are due a refund and request personal information from them to steal the victim’s identity.
How can you be sure it’s a scam?
- If they request detailed or an unusual amount of personal information, SSN, bank or credit card account numbers or security-related information, such as mother’s maiden name, either in the e-mail itself or on another site to which a link in the e-mail sends the victim.
- If they mention a tax refund or offer to pay you to participate in an IRS survey. Or they threaten a consequence for not responding to the e-mail, such as additional taxes or blocking access to your own funds.
- If they use a really long address in any link contained in the e-mail message or one that does not start with the actual IRS Web site address (http://www.irs.gov). You can check this by moving the mouse over the link included in the text of the e-mail.
If you become a victim of identity theft, you should report it to the IRS right away. You can forward suspicious emails to email@example.com and visit the US Federal Trade Commission’s website for identity theft at www.OnGuardOnline.gov for more advice. Be sure to pay attention to an email’s sender to keep yourself safe!