My brother recently got a call telling him that he could get his tax refund that’s part of the economic stimulus package early – and not have to wait until May or later. He almost gave his savings account number, but then he got suspicious. Now he wonders. Is this a scam?
Yes, it’s a scam. Even before Congress passed the $170 billion stimulus package to boost the economy, scammers started calling people to get their bank account and credit card information, so they could steal money, identities, or both.
Some scammers even claimed that you would lose your refund if you didn’t give them your personal and financial information immediately.
This is just one of over 1,000 IRS scams that is currently circulating. With the tax season upon us, scammers are now pulling out all the stops to fool their victims.
Here are some of the most popular IRS scams that are currently making the rounds…
“We owe you money” is a common theme as it is sure to get the recipient’s attention quickly. The sender of this particular phishing email seeks to gain access to your financial information by having you enter your details into a form on the fake IRS site.
In “the reward” scam, criminals telephone taxpayers advising that by filing your tax return early, you will qualify for a small reward, but they need your bank information in order to pay you.
The “take an IRS customer survey” scam offers a fake reward in exchange for your vital information.
“You’re under investigation” is enough to scare many people into doing whatever the writer of this email scam asks. Basically, it states that you filed a false tax return and must review an attachment to the email to learn more. Never open such attachments as they contain computer viruses that put your computer at risk.
“You’re being audited” is another alarming email that scammers send to gain access to your information. In this email, you are given a mere 48 hours to respond, or be penalized. Once again, the link within the email for your response goes to a fake site.
Here are four key points to remember when you receive any email or phone call offer that appears to be from the IRS:
1. The IRS will never contact you by phone or email to ask for your personal information, or to notify you of any refunds coming your way. If it’s necessary for the government to communicate with you, they will do so by regular mail.
2. You will never be asked to click over to the government site to enter your financial or other private information.
3. The IRS will not telephone you with offers and ask for your details.
4. The IRS does not offer rewards for filing early tax returns.