This Maryland Lawyer wants to inform you that the IRS receives thousands of reports each year from taxpayers who receive suspicious emails, phone calls, faxes or notices claiming to be from the IRS. Your Maryland lawyer knows that many of these scams fraudulently use the IRS name or logo as a lure to make the communication more authentic and enticing. The goal of these scams – known as phishing – is to trick you into revealing personal and financial information. The scammers can then use that information – like your Social Security number, bank account or credit card numbers – to commit identity theft or steal your money. Some thieves are just people with a criminal record attempting to use your clean identity to obtain employment. This may sound minor, but they are not going to pay the taxes they owe, which then leaves you with the IRS tax lien. We all know what happens when you don’t pay your taxes…
Here are five friendly tips from your favorite Maryland Lawyer that you need to know about IRS phishing scams:
- The IRS doesn’t ask for detailed personal and financial information like PIN numbers, passwords or similar secret access information for credit card, bank or other financial accounts.
- The IRS does not initiate taxpayer communications through e-mail and won’t send a message about your tax account. If you receive an e-mail from someone claiming to be the IRS or directing you to an IRS site:• Do not reply to the message.• Do not open any attachments. Attachments may contain malicious code that will infect your computer.• Do not click on any links. If you clicked on links in a suspicious e-mail or phishing website and entered confidential information, visit the IRS website and enter the search term ‘identity theft’ for more information and resources to help.
- The address of the official IRS website is http://www.irs.gov. Do not be confused or misled by sites claiming to be the IRS but have domains ending in .com, .net, .org or other designations instead of .gov. If you discover a website that claims to be the IRS but you suspect it is bogus, do not provide any personal information on the suspicious site and report it to the IRS.
- If you receive a phone call, fax or letter in the mail from an individual claiming to be from the IRS but you suspect they are not an IRS employee, contact the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 to determine if the IRS has a legitimate need to contact you. Report any bogus correspondence.
- You can help shut down these schemes and prevent others from being victimized. Details on how to report specific types of scams and what to do if you’ve been victimized are available at http://www.irs.gov, keyword “phishing.”
ENLawyers need you to be aware of these potential scamming pitfalls. Please be skeptical, and please be vigilant, because having your life violated by one of these scams can be very stressful and often painstakingly long to fix. Call you favorite Maryland Lawyer if you have a problem, or suspect that one of these IRS pretenders has stolen your information. We can liaise with law enforcement to make the process as painless as possible.