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IRS Issues Warning of Scammers Pretending to be the IRS

IRS Issues Warning of Scammers Pretending to be the IRS

As tax season continues, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has issued a pressing warning about a wave of email and text scams targeting taxpayers.

Expatriates, in particular, must be vigilant as they may be more susceptible to these fraudulent schemes.

Below we'll explore the various scams that have been identified and provide expert advice on how to protect yourself.

Understanding the Scams Types

1. Economic Impact Payment Scheme

What It Is: Emails with titles like "Third Round of Economic Impact Payments Status Available," promising information about stimulus payments.

Red Flags: Spelling errors, factual inaccuracies, and urging to click on malicious links.

Example: An email claiming "Click here to check your Economic Impact Payment status" but leading to a fraudulent website.

Quote from the IRS: "People are being flooded with these email and text messages, but we want them to avoid getting swept up in these terrible scams."

2. Employee Retention Credit (ERC) Misleading Claims

What It Is: False claims about ERC eligibility through various channels, including online offers and unsolicited communications.

Red Flags: Promoters claiming quick eligibility determination without details, charging up-front fees, or a fee based on a percentage of the ERC claimed.

Example: A promoter advertising "Get your ERC now, no questions asked!" without providing any legitimate process for eligibility determination.

Expert Advice: Verify the eligibility criteria for the ERC and consult with a tax pro.

3. "Claim Your Tax Refund Online" Scheme

What It Is: Emails and texts suggesting people have missed getting their tax refund, often with headlines like "Claim your tax refund online."

Red Flags: Misspellings, urging you to click a link for help to "claim tax refund."

Example: A text message stating "You have an unclaimed tax refund. Click here to claim now!" with a link to a fake IRS website.

Expert Insight: These schemes play off the concept of free or overlooked money, tempting people to fall into the trap.

4. "Help You Fix-It" Text Scheme and "Delivery Service" Scam

What They Are: Text messages claiming problems with tax returns and fake mailings that look like official government letters.

Red Flags: Misspellings, factual inaccuracies, and offers to "fix" the problem.

Example: A text message saying "There's an issue with your tax return. Click here to fix it now!" or a fake letter claiming to be from a government agency demanding immediate action.

Protection Measures: Verify the identity of the sender through other communication methods, such as calling the official IRS hotline.

5. The "Delivery Service" Scam at Your Door

What It Is: A new scam involving fake mailings that look like official government letters, often delivered directly to your door.

Red Flags: Urgent language demanding immediate action, false claims about the sender's legitimacy, and requests for personal or financial information.

Example: A letter claiming to be from a government agency, stating "Immediate action required! Contact us now to resolve your tax issue," with a phone number leading to a scam call center.

Protection Measures: Verify the authenticity of any unexpected mailings by contacting the official agency directly through their official website or phone number. Avoid providing personal information to unverified sources.

NB! This "Delivery Service" scam is a reminder that scams are not limited to digital channels. Physical mailings can also be used to deceive individuals. Being aware of this tactic and taking appropriate precautions can help protect against this type of fraud.

Key Reminder from the IRS

"The IRS never initiates contact with taxpayers by email, text or social media regarding a bill or tax refund."

This statement is crucial in understanding how the IRS communicates with taxpayers. Any unsolicited communication claiming to be the IRS should be treated with caution.

Protecting Yourself from Scams

Here's what you need to know:

  1. Official Communication Channels: The IRS typically initiates contact through regular mail delivered by the United States Postal Service. Any unsolicited communication claiming to be the IRS via email, text, or social media should be treated with caution.
  2. Avoid Clicking on Links: If you receive an unexpected email or text claiming to be from the IRS, do not click on any links or download attachments. These could lead to malicious websites or malware.
  3. Verify Phone Calls: If you receive a phone call claiming to be from the IRS, ask for a callback number and an employee badge number. Then, call the IRS at their official number to verify the caller's identity.
  4. Report Suspicious Activity: Forward suspicious emails to
  5. Protect Your Personal Information: Never share personal or financial information with an unverified source. Scammers may pose as IRS agents to steal your identity or financial assets.
  6. Consult a Tax Pro: If you receive a suspicious letter, contact us at Taxes for Expats for personalized assistance.

Understanding the official communication protocols followed by the IRS is essential in recognizing and avoiding scams.

By adhering to these guidelines and staying vigilant, you can protect yourself from falling victim to fraudulent schemes.

Bottom Line

Tax-related scams are relentless, especially during the summer months. As expatriates, understanding these schemes and taking appropriate precautions is essential.

Remember, the IRS never initiates contact through email, text, or social media regarding bills or refunds. Stay informed, be skeptical, and consult with a professional tax expert when in doubt.

Ines Zemelman, EA
Founder of TFX