According to the IRS, it stopped 649,000 fraudulent tax returns that sought $3.1 billion in refunds during tax year 2018. The year before? Some 597,000 fraudulent returns seeking $6 billion in refunds were stopped. This year will be no different. The tax scammers are out there and they’re already hard at work. Here are some of the new tricks the scammers are using.
The SSN Scam
One of the newer tax-related scams is via a phone call regarding your Social Security number. If you let it go to voicemail, the message claims that there is something “wrong” with your Social Security number, or that it was “compromised,” and you need a new one. It will ask that you call the scammer back and verify some information. Of course there’s nothing wrong with your Social Security number. If there really was, you’d receive a notice in the mail. The IRS wouldn’t be calling you. If you do make that call and cough up the info, the scammer can use it to file a fake return and claim your refund. Instead of calling, report the scam to the Social Security Administration.
The Transcript Scam
As USA Today reports, another scam involves an email from someone claiming to be the IRS. The subject usually contains a phrase like “Tax Account Transcript.” The email asks you to open an attachment labeled similarly. If you do, you’re opening a corrupted file that will steal your info. Don’t ever open suspicious attachments. Instead, forward them to the IRS using this address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Mail Scam
Scammers are also taking the additional step of mailing — yes, using snail mail — fake documents. The letters will claim to be sent from the Social Security office or the Social Security Office of the Inspector General. The letters will ask you to verify some personal and financial information. Don’t fall for it. Report the letter to the Social Security office.