July 24, 2024

A new type of a rip-off coming in the guise of an IRS look-alike is hovering around, specifically targeting businesses through their Employer Identification Numbers (EINs). The fraudsters trick businesses into filling out a fabricated Form 9710 and return it, along with a fee, to a party pretending to be the IRS with the pretense of rectifying an “error.”

Crucially, there is no IRS Form 9710. This deceit is concocted to extract both funds and private data from oblivious businesses. So, just in case one comes your way, don’t fall for it and return this fake form. Moreover, avoid sending any payment to the party named in the form.

As clarified on the IRS website, they don’t demand payment from any taxpayer — individual or entity — for initial EIN filing or for any corrections therein. The IRS also doesn’t collaborate with third parties in matters relating to the acquisition or correction of an EIN.

What to Keep an Eye On

There are several hints to watch out for upon receiving such letters or demands. Look for spelling mistakes and syntactical or formatting glitches on the so-called “IRS” letter or form. If the form mentions third-party payment, that’s a definite red flag. Similarly, if the letter doesn’t contain personalized information pertaining to an owner or an officer, or demands your signature, stay alert.

Such fraudsters exploit the retrieved information to perform bogus tax returns for claiming refunds or false W-2 forms to claim non-existing employer-related payroll expenses. They also try to milk out other private details for identity theft.

What if You’ve Filled and Returned “Form 9710”?

If you’ve mistakenly responded to “Form 9710,” quickly file the IRS Form 14039-B to notify a possible identity theft incident concerning your business. Bear in mind, the scammers won’t just con you out of your money, but also try to purloin your entity’s information and identity, alongside those of the owners and officers.

In case of suspicious IRS correspondence, directly contact IRS. The IRS references all their communications with a trackable number.

Those who suspect being a victim of such a sham can report the incident at the IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting website or dial 800-366-4484.

Kayla, the host of the midday show on Detroit’s 105.1 The Bounce, has risen from her internship at another Detroit station in 2016. From Knoxville, TN, Omaha, Ne, and multiple locales, she eventually boarded on her Detroit journey and has pretty much done it all — from promotions and web to content creation on social media. Besides, she’s a fervent Michigander, and she and her husband thrive on a gamut of Michigan offerings like camping, downtown exploration, sports games, movies, and music festivals. On the writing front, Kayla dwells in lifestyle, pop culture narratives, trending stories, life hacks, and urban culture.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an IRS look-alike scam?

An IRS look-alike scam is a type of fraud wherein the scammers send communications looking very similar to legitimate IRS communications to fool businesses or individuals in order to steal sensitive information or money.

What should be done if someone falls for the fake ‘Form 9710’ scam?

If someone has filled and submitted the ‘Form 9710’, they should immediately file IRS form 14039-B to report the potential identity theft of their business. They should also avoid any future involvement like sending payment to the third-party mentioned in the scam form.

How can someone verify if an IRS communication is legitimate?

One can verify the legitimacy of an IRS communication by checking for errors in form or the language of the communication, or check for payment demands to third-parties. However, the ultimate way to ensure the communication’s authenticity is by contacting the IRS directly, mentioning the reference number of the communication.