IRS Reports 400% Increase in Phishing Attempts This Year
January Incidents Jump from 254 in 2015 to 1,026 in 2016
IRS Commissioner Koskinen warned tax professionals and taxpayers alike about a significant surge in online tax-related fraud, noting that the number of phishing scams has already surpassed the total number of reported incidents for all of 2014. Phishing emails often look official and ask the recipient to confirm personal information, order a transcript, or provide PIN information: data that the IRS believes is being collected to file false tax returns.
The agency urges you to avoid opening emails containing any of the following subject lines:
- Numerous variations about people's tax refund.
- Update your filing details, which can include references to W-2.
- Confirm your personal information.
- Get my IP Pin.
- Get my E-file Pin.
- Order a transcript.
- Complete your tax return information.
Similarly, do not click on any of the embedded links or go to any of the referenced websites in suspicious emails. These sites often contain keyloggers, malware that records your keystrokes, and Trojans, which grant remote access to your computer.
While many immediately think of these scams targeting taxpayers, this year fraudsters have increasingly begun targeting tax professionals - attempting to acquire preparer credentials for services like the PTIN system.
If you suspect that you have received a phishing email, the IRS urges you send it to email@example.com.
Source: Internal Revenue Service