I had several clients call me last year because criminals were calling them pretending to be the IRS threatening arrest if they did not give the caller data to collect from their bank account.
Phishing is a scam typically carried out by unsolicited e-mail and/or bogus websites posing as legitimate sites luring unsuspecting victims to provide personal and financial information. The IRS has recently warned consumers to watch for e-mails appearing to be from the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) that include a bogus case number. The e-mail may include the following message: “Your reported 2013 income is flagged for review due to a document processing error. Your case has been forwarded to the Taxpayer Advocate Service for resolution assistance. To avoid delays processing your 2013 filing contact the Taxpayer Advocate Service for resolution assistance.” The e-mail may contain links appearing to provide information about the “advocate” assigned to the recipient’s case but actually lead to Web pages soliciting personal information.
If you receive an e-mail claiming to be from the IRS that contains a request for personal information, do not reply to the e-mail, open any attachments, or click on any links. Instead, forward the e-mail to the IRS at firstname.lastname@example.org. After forwarding the e-mail to the IRS, delete the original e-mail you received.
Remember, the IRS, including the TAS, does not initiate contact with taxpayers by e-mail, text, or any social media.
If you receive a phone call from an individual claiming to be from the IRS but you suspect they are not an IRS employee: (1) Ask for a call-back number and employee badge number, and (2) contact the IRS to determine if the caller is an IRS employee with a legitimate need to contact you or alternatively contact a tax professional for assistance. If you determine it is a legitimate call, then call the IRS employee back or call a tax professional to handle it for you. If you receive a notice or letter via paper mail, a tax professional to help you determine if it is a legitimate IRS letter. If it is a legitimate IRS letter, they can help you reply if needed. For information on how to contact the IRS, see http://www.irs.gov/uac/How-to-Contact-the-IRS-1. If either the caller or letter is not legitimate, report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at http://www.treasury.gov/tigta/contact_report.shtml.