There have been many articles written about scammers who pose as representatives of government agencies. But perhaps the most inventive are the scams that appear to originate from the IRS. It makes perfect sense for the IRS to reach out regarding your finances. And regardless of the season, the IRS is really always in business.
I’ve never received a call or an email from the IRS. As far as I know, they do not make calls or send emails. Emails that seem to come from the IRS will often have a name, title, and even “IRS” at the beginning or end of the email address. However, email addresses can easily be spoofed.
Unless you are actively engaged in dialog with an IRS agent, do not respond to emails or phone calls supposedly coming from the IRS.
If a scammer posing as an IRS agent ever contacts you, they may already have some of your personal information, which they can use to try to convince you that they are actually from the IRS. This data could come from public records or even your trash. The scammer will often put pressure on you to comply with their request, or even offer you a tax refund.
If you ever receive documentation in the mail indicating earned income that you are not aware of, it may mean that someone else has used your Social Security number to gain employment.
If, when filing your tax return, you receive a letter from the IRS saying that you have already filed, it almost certainly means that someone else has filed a fraudulent return on your behalf in order to steal your refund.
If you are ever a victim of an identity theft issue related to an IRS scam, you may be very disappointed in the way it is handled via the various government agencies. They simply don’t allocate the resources to fix this problem proactively, nor are they adept at responding once it has occurred. The biggest issue is the thief’s privacy. Even if you have an idea who may have done it, the IRS or any other government agency will not release that information. Either way, knowing who did it won’t help you.
All you can do in the event of tax related identity theft is to follow the IRS’s instructions for contacting an agent and resolving the issue. Just be patient, as rectifying the issue may take many hours.
McAfee Identity Protection includes proactive identity surveillance to monitor subscribers’ credit and personal information and access to live fraud resolution agents who can help subscribers work through the process of resolving identity theft issues. For additional tips, please visit http://www.counteridentitytheft.com
Robert Siciliano is a McAfee consultant and identity theft expert. See him discuss IRS related identity theft on Fox News. (Disclosures)