By Thomas R. Nash, CFCI
It is that time of the year again when we begin to gather our documents in preparation for completing our tax returns. Fraudsters and scam artists know this and rest assured, they have been working diligently to figure out ways to obtain our personal identifying information (PII) and access to our financial information.
The first rule to remember is: “The IRS does not send out unsolicited e-mails regarding tax returns, financial information or any personal identifying type of information. This includes any type of electronic communication such as text messages and social media. The IRS won’t ask and won’t discuss any personal tax matters by e-mail. There are recent reports of tax payers receiving an e-mail requesting completion of an “updated version” of a W-2 Form, the form most employees receive reporting their wages and taxes withheld.
The second rule to remember is: If the sender’s address does not end in “.gov” the e-mail is not from the IRS.
The scammers are clever and may even use the IRS logo to make the e-mail look “real.” Some have other signs indicating they are frauds such as misspellings and bad grammar.
Recipients of these e-mails are cautioned against clicking on or opening any attachments as often there are viruses or Malware attached that will infect your computer. The e-mail should be either deleted or forwarded to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The last rule to remember is: If you have questions or need specific information, go to IRS.gov for current information.
Thomas R. Nash, CFCI, has more than 35 years of experience in financial fraud prevention and investigation. He is a Certified Financial Crimes Investigator and a Life Member of the International Association of Financial Crimes Investigators (IAFCI). Tom may be contacted at email@example.com