IRS Updates Dirty Dozen Tax Scams List

    The Internal Revenue Service has continued its Dirty Dozen campaign to keep people on the lookout for scams with an alert to emails and text messages attempting to steal a taxpayer’s information.

    IRS Dirty Dozen Tax Scams 2023

    These email and SMS scams are just some of the many ways cybercriminals try to get their hands on sensitive information from their targets. Known as “phishing” and “smishing,” they were the featured scams from the second day of the 2023 Dirty Dozen campaign, which has been running every year since 2014.

    irs update tax fraud list

    Beware of phishing and smishing

    A term coined over a quarter of a century ago, phishing is a play on the spelling of fish, and the parable of using lures to fish for sensitive information that can be used to commit fraud. Such phishing scams usually take place via email, with the typical tactic being the mass sending of spam emails in the hopes of finding an unsuspecting victim.

    Smishing is an amalgamation of phishing and SMS as it is directly related to phishing attacks that take place via SMS.

    Scammers impersonate the IRS during tax season

    The IRS Commissioner, Danny Werfel, further explained the dangers of phishing and smishing scams saying, “Email and SMS scams are relentless and scammers often use tax season as a way to deceive people. Because people are eager to get the latest information on a refund or other tax issue, scammers will regularly impersonate the IRS, a state IRS, or others in the tax industry in emails and text messages. People should be incredibly wary of these kinds of unexpected messages that can be a trap, especially during filing season.

    A statement about the IRS website also explained the Dirty Dozen Campaign and other work the IRS is doing to combat such scams: “As a member of the Security Summit, the IRS, along with the state’s tax authorities and the nation’s tax industry, has spent the past eight years numerous steps have been taken to warn people to watch out each tax season for common scams that can contribute to identity theft. Along with the Security Summit initiative, the Dirty Dozen aims to protect taxpayers, businesses, and the tax system from identity thieves and various hoaxes designed to steal money and information.

    “The Dirty Dozen is an annual IRS list of 12 scams and schemes that put taxpayers and the tax professionals at risk of losing money, personal information and more. Some items on the list are new and some make a return visit. While the list is not a legal document or a formal list of agency enforcement priorities, it is intended to warn taxpayers, businesses and tax preparers about scams in general.

    How the IRS contacts taxpayers

    The IRS also reiterated that their usual method of contacting taxpayers is by regular mail, and that the IRS “will never contact you” by email or text about a bill or tax refund.

    The Tax and Customs Administration has also provided an email address that you can use to report any scam messages that taxpayers receive. The scam emails can be forwarded, or a copy of the text/SMS can be sent as an attachment to [email protected] along with details such as caller ID, date, time and time zone, and the number that received the message if it is a text message scam.

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