WASHINGTON ― With the approach of the holidays and the 2019 filing season, the Internal Revenue Service, state tax agencies and the nation’s tax industry are warning consumers to be on the lookout following a surge of new, sophisticated email phishing scams.
“Taxpayers saw many more phishing scams in 2018 as the IRS recorded a 60% increase in bogus email schemes that seek to steal money or tax data,” the IRS said.
“The holidays and tax season present great opportunities for scam artists to try stealing valuable information through fake emails,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “Watch your inbox for these sophisticated schemes that try to fool you into thinking they’re from the IRS or our partners in the tax community. Taking a few simple steps can protect yourself during the holiday season and at tax time.”
The IRS also warned against a new influx of phishing scams.
A Decline in Scams, and Then…
Tax-related phishing scams reported to the IRS declined for the prior three years until a surge in 2018. More than 2,000 tax-related scam incidents were reported to the IRS from January through October, compared to approximately 1,200 incidents in all of 2017, the IRS stated.
“One recent malware campaign used a variety of subjects, like ‘IRS Important Notice,’ ‘IRS Taxpayer Notice’ and other variations. The phishing emails, which use varying language, demands a payment or threatens to seize the recipient’s tax refund,” the agency stated.