THIEVES and hackers are increasing their efforts to steal money and data from taxpayers this Christmas season by posing as IRS officials in elaborate phishing scams.
In a statement, the IRS said “The combination of the holiday shopping season, the upcoming tax season and the pandemic create additional opportunities for criminals to steal sensitive personal or finance information.”
“This year, fraud scams related to COVID-19, Economic Impact Payments and other tax law changes are common,” the agency warned.
In an effort to keep Americans safe, the IRS shared guidelines for avoiding scams and phishing attempts this holiday season.
Be vigilant about gift card scams
Gift card scams have become increasingly popular because they often make use of hacked or spoofed email addresses and seem legitimate at first.
If you receive an email or text from a friend, loved one, coworker or agency that says you need to buy and send gift cards to a certain address, be suspicious.
And as the IRS points out, remember that no federal agency will ever ask you to pay outstanding dues with a gift card.
“The agency won’t ask for or accept gift cards as payment for a tax bill,” the IRS said in a statement.
Hackers posing as IRS officials send emails requesting gift card purchases.
A scammer might “tell the taxpayer their identity has been stolen and used to open fake bank accounts,” the IRS wrote, and tell the victim that they need to pay a…