IRS Impostors Phishing for Personal and Financial Information: Report them immediately

It is important to be aware of pop-ups or emails ‘phishing’ for personal information. They are transmitted electronically and done so very easily. You may even receive a text, SMS message or a personal message through social media platforms. These false requests are daily occurrences and are sent in hopes to lure innocent victims into disclosing personal and/or financial information. Most of this communication is disguised as official fictitious sites or deemed to mimic well-known entities.

Even the IRS is misrepresented in phishing scams. Unsolicited email from the IRS would definitely get the attention of recipients. The scammers are counting on this. Many of the recipients will more likely be willing to open the communication out of fear or curiosity about what the IRS may have to say to them. In response to phishing scams, the IRS takes a firm approach to proper handling of communication. The IRS has designed set guidelines to follow to better protect citizens against phishing. Any official contact from the IRS would never begin with an email asking for personal information. Business Accounting Systems wants to spread the word to keep as many people safe from IRS phishing attempts.

What should you do if you receive unsolicited contact from the IRS?

Did you receive a phishing email?

-Don’t respond
-Don’t open attachments
-Forward the email to phishing@irs.gov
-Delete original email once it has been forwarded

How to handle phone contact

If you have received an unexpected phone call from the IRS, the first thing to do is request a call back number and a badge ID. IRS employees are trained to give the information out so the recipient can call back to verify that it is indeed the IRS. If the caller refuses to comply with your request or harasses you to provide information, hang up. A true IRS agent would not respond in such a manner.

How do you respond to a paper letter?

If you receive mail from the IRS, contact the IRS to verify its authenticity. A legitimate IRS letter is traceable through the system. If it is false, report the letter to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.

Did you receive an unsolicited email or fax concerning a stock or share purchase?

Citizens should:

-Forward email to phishing@irs.com
-File a complaint with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
-File a complaint with the FTC Complaint Assistant if you are a victim of identity or monetary theft

Non-citizens:

-File the appropriate form with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
-File a complaint with your securities regulator
-Forward any email to phishing@irs.com
-File a complaint with the FTC Complaint Assistant if you are a victim of identity or monetary theft

Did you receive a phishing fax?

Before you do anything, like a paper letter, contact the IRS to make sure it can be verified. If it is not verified then send the fax via email to phishing@irs.com with the word ‘FAX’ in the subject title.

What if IRS contact is done by message?

Your cell phones are not exempt from phishing queries. If you receive a text or SMS message, don’t reply or open any attachments or links connected to it. Forward the text to the IRS as-is (202-552-1226) and include the original contact number if possible. Once you have sent it to the IRS, delete it from your phone or computer.

Protect yourself against phishing scams

Official businesses, government entities or private companies will never request secure information without any prior contact. It is always best to be safe and verify the source prior to answering any questions or opening any attachments or links. Business Accounting Systems will help in anyway necessary when it comes to IRS communication. Our staff is well versed in IRS practices and will help protect you from IRS phishing scams. Spread the word and protect family and friends. Print this blog post and save it as a reference in case you ever receive phishing communication presented as an IRS notice.