Central New Yorkers beware! IRS warns of convincing new tax scam
The Internal Revenue Service is raising alarm over a brand new tax refund scam designed to steal your sensitive information. Here's what you need to know.
This scam will show up in your mail box
The IRS explained in a press release how this new scam works. Basically, these fraudsters send a rather official-looking cardboard envelope that contains an enticing message for their potential victims.
"The enclosed letter includes the IRS masthead and wording that the notice is 'in relation to your unclaimed refund.'"
Obviously, the message is meant to cause excitement, which might lead to poor decisions.
The letter asks for detailed photos of one's driver's license, as well as a cellphone number, bank routing information, Social Security number and bank account type.
Don't fall for it! Fraudsters are hoping to get their hands on that precious, personal information so they can commit tax-related identity theft.
How to spot the scam
While this letter is designed to trick you into handing over your sensitive information, the IRS points out there's a few glaring red flags.
First off, they warn the contact information and phone number in the letter do not belong to the IRS. So, when in doubt -- Googling the contact information can show who really sent that letter.
Secondly, the IRS says the letter is poorly written and contains some awkward phrases that no government body would willingly put in their communications.
They provided several examples of their poorly worded requests:
"A Clear Phone of Your Driver's License That Clearly Displays All Four (4) Angles, Taken in a Place with Good Lighting."
"You'll Need to Get This to Get Your Refunds After Filing. These Must Be Given to a Filing Agent Who Will Help You Submit Your Unclaimed Property Claim. Once You Send All The Information Please Try to Be Checking Your Email for Response From The Agents Thanks"
Lastly, this letter is filled with inaccuracies, such as claiming October 17 is the deadline for people on extension to file a 2022 tax refund. The IRS says the actual deadline is actually October 16.
The IRS also noted they only handle tax returns -- and never "unclaimed property." They also don't reach out to taxpayers via email, text or social media regarding a bill or tax refund.
What to do when you get this letter
There's no need to panic should this scam show up in your mailbox. You can report the communication to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration and throw the letter out.
Or, since it's summer, you can toss it into your fire pit and go roast some marshmallows.