It is that time of year again, tax time! Every year thousands of people fall victim to tax scams. Criminals use a number of tactics to fool individuals, payroll and tax professionals.
It is important to remember that the IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or social media channels to request personal or financial information. Learn how to identify if an individual calling or at the door is genuinely from the IRS.
It is essential to become familiar with common and recent scams to learn how to avoid them. We’ve highlighted some of the latest scams for you below.
An IRS phone scam is being reported targeting individuals in New Jersey.
How the scam works
In this scam, the criminal calls pretending to be an IRS representative and claims the victim owes tax money, demanding immediate payment. If the victim refuses to pay, the scammer threatens to send the police to their home. If the victim still does not pay and ends the call, the criminals spoof the victim’s phone number to call law enforcement to file a false report of an emergency or threat of violence at the victim’s home to prompt immediate law enforcement response. This tactic is called “Swatting”.
What you can do to protect yourself
Unfortunately, this threat cannot be completely avoided. Once targeted do not make the payment and call your local law enforcement after the threat is made. If law enforcement does arrive at your home as a result of the criminals swatting threat, remain calm and follow all of law enforcement orders, keeping your hands empty and visible until the situation is resolved.
Where can you get more information on dealing with scam calls
The U.S. Internal Revenue Service issued a reminder warning to all employers about an email identity-theft scam that spoofs emails from senior management, payroll or human resource departments to trick employees into revealing sensitive information such as their W-2 forms. Scammers are targeting schools, nonprofits, and other organizations.
How the scam works
The cybercriminal will send an email that appears to be a legitimate company executive or department requesting information similar to the following:
- “Kindly send me the individual 2016 W-2 (PDF) and earnings summary of all W-2 of our company staff for a quick review.”
- “Can you send me the updated list of employees with full details (Name, Social Security Number, Date of Birth, Home Address, Salary).”
- “I want you to send me the list of a W-2 copy of employee’s’ wage and tax statement for 2016; I need them in PDF file type, you can send it as an attachment. Kindly prepare the lists and email them to me asap.”
- A variation of the scam may also ask that funds be wired to a certain account.
What can you do to protect yourself
Remember that when you receive sudden requests like this, they may be spoofed emails and that you should double check their authenticity with the requestor or your supervisor.
Report Phishing scams marking mail as Phishing in Gmail. For more details, please visit our page on Phishing. If you’re not sure, contact TechHelp@fitnyc.edu.