A new warning from the Internal Revenue Service. As the tax deadline approaches, officials caution we are entering the peak of scam season.
Fraudulent tax returns have become a growing problem in recent years. Investigators say a new scam now targets human resource departments. IRS Special Agent in Charge for the Oakland field office Michael Batdorf told NBC Bay Area thieves are now looking to steal private information from employers by sending phishing emails to H.R. departments.
“Personnel thinks it’s a legitimate email, when it’s really just spoofing the account of [the company] president,” Batdorf explained. “Now all of a sudden that bad guy has everyone’s social security number, salary, withholding, everything. So then if they actually file a tax return with that information, it’s going to be very hard for the IRS to stop that.”
Batdorf urges filers to protective themselves by never giving out their personal information online unless it’s on a secure site.
In 2014 the IRS received an estimated 150 million tax returns. The agency flagged more than 2 million of those returns for fraud, totaling more than $15.7 billion.
The IRS on Thursday also issued a consumer alert for fraudulent tax preparers. Last year, the agency shut down more than 35 fraudulent tax-return preparers located across the United States, including some in California.
• Identity Theft
• Phone Scams
• Return Preparer Fraud
• Offshore Tax Avoidance
• Inflated Refund Claims
• Fake Charities
• Falsely Padding Deductions on Returns
• Excessive Claims for Business Credits
• Falsifying Income to Claim Credits
• Abusive Tax Shelters
• Frivolous Tax Arguments
Investigators urge anyone who suspect their information has been stolen or compromised to contact the IRS immediately.