Expertise Beyond the Numbers

Beware of IRS Scammers Threatening Arrest, Deportation, and Worse [Blog Post]

SC&H Group’s Tax Services team offers the following blog post on the most recent tax season scams being conducted under the guise of the IRS.

Taxpayers beware. Aggressive and threatening phone calls by criminals impersonating IRS agents remain a major threat this tax season.

Unfortunately, the IRS has seen a surge of phone scams where criminals threaten police arrest, deportation, license revocation, and other things – just to get victims to pay up.

In fact, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) announced that they have received roughly 896,000 fraudulent complaints since October 2013. Approximately 5,000 victims have collectively paid more than $26.5 million as a result of these scams.

In Maryland alone, the Maryland Association of CPAs (MACPA) members also report receiving, on average, one call per day from clients who are being victimized.

According to the IRS, here are the most recent scams to be aware of:

  • IRS-Impersonation Telephone Scam: Callers claim to be employees of the IRS, but are not. Victims are told they owe money to the IRS, and it must be paid promptly through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer.
  • W-2 Scam Targeting Payroll and Human Resources Professionals: Payroll and human resources professionals should be aware of an emerging phishing email scheme. The scammers claim to be company executives, and request personal information on employees.
  • E-mail, Phishing and Malware Schemes: The IRS has seen an approximate 400 percent surge in phishing and malware incidents so far in the 2016 tax season. The emails are designed to trick taxpayers into thinking these are official communications from the IRS, or others in the tax industry, including tax software companies.
  • Tax Preparer Phishing Scam: A bogus email asks tax professionals to update their IRS e-services portal information and Electronic Filing Identification Numbers (EFINs). The links provided in the false email appear to be a phishing scheme designed to capture your username and password.
  • Email Phishing Scam: These emails appear to be from the IRS, and include a link to a bogus website intended to mirror the official IRS website. These emails contain the direction “you are to update your IRS e-file immediately.” However, the emails are not from the IRS.

It always pays to be hyper vigilant. If you receive a call or email from the IRS that seems too good to be true…tread carefully and check with the IRS first.

If you have any suspicions that an email or call is an IRS scam, or you would like to arm yourself with the accounting knowledge and financial details necessary to protect yourself, please contact SC&H Group’s Tax Services team here.