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IRS Saw Fourfold ID Scam Increase in 2016

by Scott Hamilton, Tax-News.com, Washington

09 December 2016


The US Internal Revenue Service, while issuing warnings to taxpayers to be wary of identity theft and refund fraud scams, has disclosed that it saw a fourfold surge in phishing and malware incidents during the 2016 tax season.

The Security Summit – a collaborative initiative between the IRS, leaders of tax preparation and software firms, payroll and tax financial product processors, and state tax administrators – has been running a "National Tax Security Awareness Week," which began on December 5.

The IRS has issued warnings to taxpayers to be on the lookout for numerous and evolving tax scams related to identity theft and refund fraud, the incidence of which is increasing again as the opening of the 2017 tax season nears.

Taxpayers are being reminded that the easiest way for an identity thief to steal taxpayer information is by asking for it. People fall victim to phishing scams through emails, texts, or phone and mistakenly turn over important personal data, the IRS said. In turn, cybercriminals try to use that data to file fraudulent tax returns or commit other crimes.

"Whether it's during the holidays or the approach of tax season, scam artists look for ways to use tax agencies and the tax industry to trick and confuse people," said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. "There are warning signs to these scams people should watch out for, and simple steps to avoid being duped into giving these criminals money, sensitive financial information or access to computers."

TAGS: compliance | tax | tax compliance | law | Internal Revenue Service (IRS) | tax authority | United States | Tax

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