To better protect tax filers from falling victim to fraud, state Rep. Katie Stuart (D-Edwardsville) is highlighting emerging scams used to gain access to sensitive tax information and bank accounts.
“Being aware of common scams is the best way to protect yourself from losing money to a scammer,” Stuart said. “We’ve heard stories lately of individuals being put into compromising financial situations due to COVID-related tax scams. As criminals become more creative, it’s important to know about their tactics and the ways the IRS does contact people, so you can identify a scam when you see one.”
In the past year, the IRS has noticed an increase in scams to access taxpayers’ bank accounts and personal information, particularly during tax season. Over email, scam artists often pose as tax preparation services to trick people into giving up personal data, or clicking on links to malicious websites or fake PDFs that download viruses or malware onto their computer. Scammers may also call pretending to be from the IRS, claiming that a victim owes money and threatening arrest if they don’t comply. Stuart is reminding residents that the IRS will always mail a bill before calling to discuss taxes owed and will not ask for sensitive information over text or email.
“If someone unexpectedly contacts you by phone, email or text message about tax matters, or with information about your stimulus payment, be mindful that it’s not really the IRS,” Stuart said. “Scammers are still at work during the pandemic, but by staying vigilant and not responding to unsolicited requests for personal information, you can keep yourself safe this tax season.”
If individuals suspect that they have received a scam call or email, they should contact the Attorney General’s Office Consumer Fraud Hotline 1-800-243-0618 to help protect others. For more information about COVID-related fraud, visit https://www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov/
May 17, 2020 at 12:47PM