The IRS is reminding taxpayers to be aware of identity theft scams using the IRS name, logo or website address to deceive taxpayers into believing they are being contacted by the agency. These scams request personal and financial information, such as bank account numbers, commonly by email. The IRS does not contact taxpayers or request personal information by email. Suspicious email should be forwarded to the IRS at phishing@irs.gov, and immediately deleted from the taxpayer’s inbox.

Identity thieves are creative. The IRS is alerting taxpayers to the following new schemes that have recently surfaced:

Making Work Pay Credit scams. This is a phishing scam telling taxpayers incorrectly that the Making Work Pay credit can be paid directly to the recipient’s bank account if he or she registers their bank account information with the “IRS.” The e-mail contains links to register the account and to claim the tax refund.

Inherited funds/lottery winnings/cash consignments. This is a multi-step phishing scam in which an email claiming to be from the IRS notifies taxpayers that they will receive millions of dollars in recovered funds, lottery winnings or cash consignments if they provide the “IRS” with personal information. The e-mail is usually followed up by telephone or email and told to deposit taxes on the funds or winnings before they can receive any of it.

Refund scams. Refund scams are one of the most common forms of identity theft. An e-mail claiming to be from the IRS claims informs the individuals that he or she is eligible to receive a tax refund. To receive the refund, the email instructs the recipient to click on a link provided in the e-mail to access and complete a form requiring personal and financial information for the tax refund.

There are a number of forms of identity theft and taxpayers must be alert and extremely cautious about providing any financial or personal information over the internet, phone or through the mail. If you receive an email or other communication claiming to be from the IRS, be highly suspicious. Our office will be happy to sort out legitimate correspondence from those bent on doing you harm.