The impostors, impersonators and general all-around bad guys are at it again. According to the IRS, notifications to phishing@IRS.gov are up substantially on unsolicited emails, claiming to be from the IRS. It begs the question, would there ever be a solicited email from the IRS?
The subject line can vary, but there are variations of “Automatic Income Tax Reminder” or “Electronic Tax Return Reminder”. First, as any well-meaning tax professional will tell you, there is nothing automatic about income taxes and tax returns are not required to be filed electronically. Well, technically, if you are a preparer you must prepare them electronically, but the IRS does not require the individuals themselves to prepare them electronically.
And, naturally, these emails have links that take you to a look alike IRS website, which wants you to click in further to get access to information about your refund. Do you want to know how the IRS sends you notices about your refund – they mail a notice, or they send you a check or the direct deposit shows up in your account. THEY WILL NEVER EMAIL YOU about your refund. They will not reach out to you on social media either.
And do you know what those links do? They can infect your computer with malware that records your keystrokes, potentially picking up all of your passwords. So just don’t click on the link in an email. It is much safer and wiser to go the extra steps to log in manually and double check items.
This will probably not be the last warning: The IRS does not contact you via email or phone first. They will contact you with a notice. Don’t be scammed.
Donna H Laubscher, CPA