Beware of Tax Email Scams

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Besides changing tax laws, there’s another reason to be careful during tax time: According to the Internal Revenue Service, scammers are especially active this year.

Con artists are attempting to use confusion about stimulus payments to collect your personal and financial information. A favorite ruse is an email with a false IRS logo directing you to a site where you’re asked to fill out forms to get your refund. What you get instead is a stolen identity.

Here are five other typical claims in fake emails.

  • You might be entitled to a larger tax refund…
  • Tax laws may have changed…
  • You are being audited…
  • Fill out an IRS customer satisfaction survey…
  • You are under investigation for submitting a false tax return…

A message from the IRS can be nerve-rattling, even if you know you’ve done nothing wrong, and a natural response is to want to find out what’s going on. But before you open the email and its attachments, or click on links in the email or hit the reply button, remember one key fact: The IRS does not send unsolicited emails.

The safest course of action is to delete the email without looking at it. First though, you may want to consider doing your part to help stop these cons by forwarding tax scam emails to the IRS for investigation. The government mailbox address is phishing @ irs.gov. Check the IRS web site for instructions about how to retain the email’s encoding so the crooks can be more easily tracked down.

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