Tax fraud through identity theft tops this year’s “Dirty Dozen” list of scams, newly appointed IRS Commissioner John Koskinen tells the Houston Chronicle. Koskinen said the agency is devoting more of its limited resources to fighting fraudsters and is “making great progress.” Identity theft occurs when a thief uses a legitimate taxpayer’s identity to file a fake tax return and claim the refund. Taxpayers who believe they are at risk of identity theft through lost information should contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 800-908-4490.
In a recent jump in phone scams across the U.S., callers pretend to be from the IRS to steal money or victims’ identities. Some callers say the victims owe money or are entitled to a huge refund while other callers threaten arrest or driver’s license revocation. Phone scammers typically use “common” names to identify themselves and may know the last four digits of the victim’s Social Security Number. Phishing typically involves unsolicited email or fake websites to prompt victims to divulge personal or financial information. If you receive such an email, report it to firstname.lastname@example.org. The IRS does not contact taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information.