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Written by Cyndie Martini
on April 07, 2020

Scammers always come out during tax season, looking for unsuspecting individuals who they might be able to take advantage of. These tax scams include a number of creative tactics such as:

  • Robocalling people to say their SSN is invalid and that they must return the call to correct the problem.
  • Emails impersonating the IRS. Note that the IRS does not send emails.
  • Calls that impersonate the Taxpayer Advocate Service phone numbers.
  • Impersonating an IRS phone number and IRS employee, including IRS badge numbers.

It's bad enough that taxpayers have to deal with the height of scams during tax season. Now that the government is starting to provide relief stimulus in the form of checks or direct deposit related to the coronavirus, scammers are back at it and doing double time.

Many people are concerned about their immediate financial futures, which can lead to desperation. With the tax deadline getting to pushed to July 15, it adds another layer of confusion. Scammers are taking advantage of the desperation and confusion, mainly through email.

Scammers have successfully spoofed many well-known government organization emails. These include the U.S. Department of Revenue, federal tax agencies, and recognized tax preparation services, as found in a 2020 Valimail tax scam report. In fact, 78% of the organizations analyzed in Valimail's report did not have needed email protections in place.

“Threat actors have historically used major events to enhance their phishing attacks, and tax season is no exception,” Alexander García-Tobar, CEO and co-founder of Valimail, said in a press release.

There are a few things consumers can do to protect themselves from these scams:

  • Don't engage with any emails from the IRS. They will never send you an email. 
  • If you get a call from the IRS, ask for the person's badge # and direct phone number. Then call them back at an IRS number.
  • If you receive an email from some tax agency asking for sensitive information, don't respond. If you are working with a tax agency, ensure the "from" name is one you recognize and don't ever send sensitive information through email.

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