According to the IRS, there has been a 400 percent increase in tax scams during this year’s filing season, compared to last year. The IRS has issued warnings about the growing threat of scams as the end of tax season nears. Scammers use tax season to trick taxpayers into disclosing confidential information so they can access bank accounts, make fraudulent purchases, apply for loans and steal tax refunds.
The most common way scammers steal W-2s is through phishing emails. Hackers create a fake email address, posing as a CEO or CFO of a company and send a request to an employee in payroll asking for a PDF of all employees’ W-2s.
According to the Department of Justice, stolen identity tax refund fraud has affected hundreds of thousands of taxpayers and has cost the United States Treasury billions of dollars.
Other common scams claim there is an urgent situation requiring taxpayers’ immediate attention, such as an issue with processing refunds, additional forms or an audit warning.
The best way to protect yourself from tax scams is to know the signs:
- Emails that appear to be from the IRS with suspicious links and attachments
- Text messages that instruct you to call a toll-free number
- Phone calls with pre-recorded messages that ask for confidential information
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