IRS Warning: Beware Email Phishing Scheme Falsely Claiming to be from the Taxpayer Advocate Service
From time to time the IRS issues consumer warnings on the fraudulent use of the IRS name or logo by scammers trying to gain access to consumers’ financial information in order to steal their identity and assets. When identity theft takes place over the Internet,it is called phishing.
Phishing (as in “fishing for information” and “hooking” victims) is a scam where Internet fraudsters send e-mail messages to trick unsuspecting victims into revealing personal and financial information that can be used to steal the victims’ identity. Current scams include phony e-mails which claim to come from the IRS Taxpayer Advocate’s Office which lure the victims into the scam by telling them that their case has been forwarded to the Taxpayer Advocate’s Office.
How The Scam Works
Victims will receive an email that appears to be from the IRS Taxpayer Advocate Service and includes a bogus case number.The fake emails may include the following message: “Your reported 2013 income is flagged for review due to a document processing error. Your case has been forwarded to the Taxpayer Advocate Service for resolution assistance. To avoid delays processing your 2013 filing contact the Taxpayer Advocate Service for resolution assistance.”
Recipients are directed to click on links that supposedly provide information about the “advocate” assigned to their case or that let them “review reported income.” The links lead to web pages that solicit personal information.
The Taxpayer Advocate Service (“TAS”) is a legitimate IRS organization that helps taxpayers resolve federal tax issues that have not been resolved through the normal IRS channels. The TAS never initiates contact with taxpayers by email, texting or any social media. A taxpayer must contact the TAS directly in order to secure assistance and receive communications from the TAS.
To Report Fraud
Taxpayers who get these messages should not respond to the email or click on the links. Instead, they should forward the scam emails to the IRS at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also report the fraudulent misuse of the IRS name, logo, forms or other IRS property by calling the IRS toll-free fraud hotline at 1-800-366-4484.
What You Should Do If You Really Do Have Tax Issues?
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