Wallingford, CT – March 3, 2011 – Connecticut BBB is warning taxpayers to beware of several income tax scams. Their common thread is an emailed request for personal information that is supposedly used to “update records,” and their goal is identity theft. Every year at this time, scam artists use people’s fear of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to get victims to cooperate.
“Nobody wants their tax refund held up by incorrect information,” according to Connecticut Better Business Bureau President, Paulette Scarpetti. “People who respond without thinking can end up victims of identity theft.”
In one variation, an email purportedly from the IRS tells you that you need to submit information for your W-2, a U.S. federal tax document filled out by employers. The email tells the recipient to click on a link to input the information. The link either takes the victims to an official-looking page to fill out private information, or downloads malicious spyware onto their computers.
In fact, W-2 forms are submitted by employers, not taxpayers and the IRS sends letters – not emails - when it needs more information. This is one of several IRS scams that make their rounds at this time of the year. Sometimes the email comes from the “Treasury Department,” stating a refund or tax inheritance is waiting and the taxpayer needs to provide personal information.
Do not click on any links in unknown emails or give out personal information, such as SSN, home address and birth date to anyone who emails or calls you. Another red flag is if the email has a lot of punctuation and spelling errors.
Not a scam – the IRS recently released a mobile app which allows users to check the status of their tax refunds. The app, IRS2go
, is available for free download to iPhones and Androids. Taxpayers are prompted to provide some basic information, including Social Security number, which the IRS says will be encrypted for security purposes. Users can then select the filing status of their tax return and enter the amount of money they expect to receive from the IRS.