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Tax Defense Network Scam Alert: Phishing Scams

December 10, 2013

One of the most common methods of stealing taxpayer identities and tax information is through a scheme called phishing. Phishing is when scammers use fake websites and emails to gain access to a taxpayer’s financial and personal information. Tax Defense Network Scam Alert shows taxpayers the reality of scams carefully hidden behind false legitimacy.

How Phishing is Conducted
Tax scammers that use phishing usually send unsolicited emails to random people pretending to be from the IRS, a well-known bank or a reputable financial institution. The email will either have links that lead to a fake web page or have an attachment that contains malware. These methods are used to extract financial and personal information from the email recipient such as bank account numbers, personal identification numbers, their social security number, return filing status, or birth date.

Tax Defense Network Scam Alert cautions that if a person enters these details on a fake web page, the scammers will use that information to file fraudulent tax returns to pocket large refunds. They may also commit tax fraud and other financial crimes using the information.

Tax Defense Network Scam Alert: Scammers Use Threat or Temptation
To persuade an online user to visit a fake web page and submit their information, scammers use threat or temptation. They may threaten the recipient with IRS collection actions or legal actions if they do not resolve the issue immediately. They urge the user to click on a link that leads to a fake web page designed to steal information. It is a replica of an authentic web page of the IRS or a legitimate financial institution.

Another tactic scammers may use is to tempt people into sharing their financial and tax information by promising large tax refunds or tax savings by hiding income in fraudulent trusts or using fraudulent schemes.

Reporting Phishing Scams
To stop the scam, Tax Defense Network encourages taxpayers to report any phishing attempt to the IRS. Recipients of unsolicited emails or text messages from the IRS or a financial institution must never click on a link in the message or open any attachments. They can forward the email to phishing@irs.gov and then delete the email.

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