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Post Date:  3/6/2018
Last Updated:  3/6/2018

Summary
Cross References
- IR-2018-39, March 5, 2018

Following continuing threats to taxpayers, the IRS has listed email phishing schemes as a top filing season concern and part of the annual listing of the Dirty Dozen tax scams for 2018.

The IRS warned taxpayers, businesses, and tax professionals to be alert to fake emails or websites looking to steal personal information. These attempts can expand during tax season and remain a major identity theft threat.

Compiled annually by the IRS, the Dirty Dozen lists a variety of common scams that taxpayers may encounter any time of the year, but many of these schemes peak during filing season as people prepare their tax returns or seek help from tax professionals.

To help protect taxpayers, the IRS is highlighting each of these scams on 12 consecutive days to help raise awareness. The IRS also urges taxpayers to help protect themselves against identity theft by reviewing safety tips prepared the Security Summit, a collaborative effort between the IRS, states and the private-sector tax community.

"We urge taxpayers to watch out for these tricky and dangerous schemes," said Acting IRS Commissioner David Kautter. "Phishing and other scams on the Dirty Dozen list can trap unsuspecting taxpayers. Being cautious and taking basic security steps can help protect people and their sensitive tax and financial data."

2018 Sees New Phishing Schemes
The IRS continues to see a steady onslaught of new and evolving phishing schemes as scam artists work to victimize taxpayers during filing season.

In a recent twist to a phishing scam, the IRS has seen thousands of taxpayers victimized by an unusual scheme that involves their own bank accounts. After stealing client data from tax professionals and filing fraudulent tax returns, the criminals use taxpayers' real bank accounts to direct deposit refunds. Thieves are then using various tactics to reclaim the refund from the taxpayers, including falsely claiming to be from a collection agency or representing the IRS. Phone calls, emails, and websites are used to make the scheme more elaborate. Versions of the scam may continue to evolve. The IRS encourages taxpayers to review some basic tips if they see an unexpected deposit in their bank account.

In addition, the IRS has seen email schemes in recent weeks targeting tax professionals, payroll professionals, human resources personnel, schools, as well as individual taxpayers.

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