June 25, 2024

The deadline on the calendar is looming – April 15, 2024. Have you submitted your tax returns? If you happen to receive a text or email claiming to be from the IRS, please proceed with caution: is it genuine? This article will help you identify four prevalent IRS tax scams you need to be wary of in 2024, along with useful advice to keep yourself safe during tax-filing season. Carry on reading to learn more.

The Threat of Tax-Related Identity Theft

Tax-related identity theft is an alarming issue. As per IRS data, about 2.4 million tax returns had to be scrutinized due to potential identity theft suspicions by May 2023, with fraudulent refunds adding up to $13.8 billion. Furthermore, US consumers have already lost almost $2.7 billion to imposter scams in 2023 alone. So, how does tax-related identity theft occur?

In an attempt to trick you into divulging your personal details like your address, birth date, and Individual Tax ID Number (ITIN), swindlers execute this scam, posing as the IRS. Using this obtained information, they can file a fraudulent tax return in your name and have the refund transferred to their own account. Watch out for these red flags:

The Four Major IRS Tax Scams of 2024

While this isn’t an exhaustive list, take note of what IRS impersonators might claim when reaching out:

  • The need for you to confirm personal information to get a tax refund
  • The opportunity to reduce taxes using their duplicate Offer in Compromise (OIC) program
  • Your eligibility for their replica of a tax assistance program
  • You owing taxes and requiring immediate payment to avoid penalty
  • #1 – The Deceptive IRS Tax Refund Scam

    Every tax season sees a rise in fake IRS emails. The scam revolves around offering a phony tax refund. The tricksters claim you’re eligible for a tax refund and guide you to apply for it through the link they share.

    Caption: Reddit

    Slam the Scam irs taxCaption: Reddit

    It’s important not to click on any of these links! They would lead you to a counterfeit IRS website where you might unknowingly reveal your personal details, including your ITIN. Stay alert!

    #2 – The Sham “Offer in Compromise” Claim

    The IRS’s “Offer in Compromise” (OIC) program is often a lifesaver for reducing taxes. However, be on your guard! Scammers have set up phony OIC programs/websites to deceive people into either parting with their money (under the pretext of fees) or giving away their PII.

    • All tax debt erased with this secret that the IRS doesn’t want you to uncover http:// noortimer[.]com. 

    #3 – The Fraudulent Tax Assistance Program

    Fraudsters also concoct fake tax assistance programs and dupe you into signing up with the promise of helping you reduce taxes. However, the swindlers’ actual purpose is to incite you to click on the embedded link, leading to other sham websites; regardless of where you end up, you won’t get any tax deduction. More importantly, you might end up tricked into parting with additional money or PII on these scam sites. Don’t fall for it!

    IRS Tax scamSource: Trend Micro

    Note that the IRS won’t ever reach out initially via email, text, or social media! For queries, it’s always best to visit the official IRS website.

    #4 – The Sham 2023 Unpaid Taxes Alert

    Scammers also try to fool you into believing that you still have unpaid taxes for 2023. In the fake email, they attach a supposedly informative file for you to review, which is, in reality, harmful. Don’t click on it!

    Source: Trend Micro

    Get Ahead of Identity Theft with Trend Micro – for FREE!

    Truth be told, there are numerous scams and scam websites online, and they’re getting increasingly sophisticated and challenging to detect sheerly by common sense. For a simple yet best-in-breed solution for detecting and steering clear of scam websites, consider using Trend Micro’s ID Protection. 

    Caption: ID Protection Home Screen

    ID Protection empowers you to keep at bay scams, malware-ridden websites, harmful emails, phishing attempts, and more! If you stumble upon anything harmful online, you’ll receive real-time alerts to avoid these threats.
    
With ID Protection, you can:  

  • Verify if your information (email, phone number, password, credit card) has been compromised in a breach or is available on the dark web;
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  • Additional Safety Tips to Combat IRS Tax Scams

    • Always verify the sender’s email address or mobile number;
    • Avoid clicking on links or opening attachments from unknown sources;
    • Always reach out to IRS officials directly for assistance;
    • Secure your tax filing with an Identity Protection PIN (IP PIN);
    • Never share your login credentials or other personal information with anyone;
    • Report any suspicious emails to phishing@irs.gov if you suspect a tax scam.

    For more tips to stay safe during the tax season, please refer to this link.

    Remain vigilant this tax season! If you found this information insightful or helpful, please share it with your friends and family to contribute towards a secure and protected online community. Also, consider leaving a comment or liking our page down below.