Every year scam artists devise new schemes to defraud millions of people. In recent years, it seems one of the most popular systems to target is the IRS.
Unfortunately, fraudsters are at it once again – posing as the IRS in an attempt to steal taxpayers’ hard-earned money.
To keep your bank account and private information safe, here’s what you need to know about the latest Affordable Care Act (ACA) tax scam.
Not all emails can be trusted
On Thursday, the IRS reported a new scam involving fake CP2000 notices, the most common notice sent by the agency.
A legitimate CP2000 is sent by the IRS when income reported from an employer or other third party source isn’t a match with the income reported on an income tax return. Fraudsters are creating false CP2000 notices and emailing them to taxpayers along with a bill for unpaid 2015 taxes related to the ACA.
The email appears to be issued from an Austin, Texas address and includes an attachment of the fake CP2000, a request for information regarding their 2014 ACA coverage and a payment voucher that lists the letter number as “105C.”
The form asks taxpayers to write a check to the “I.R.S.” and mail it to an “Austin Processing Center” at a P.O. Box address. The email also contains a link to make a direct payment.
What to do if this happens to you
If you receive one of these emails, do not respond, open the attachment or click on any links.
Immediately forward the email to firstname.lastname@example.org and then delete it.
Let your friends and family know about the scam so they can take the same precautions.
When you know it’s fake
Throughout the year, we receive numerous emails, phone calls or documents requesting information. It can quickly become difficult to spot a phony request – especially if you don’t know what a real notice looks like.
When it comes to determining if you’ve received a real notice or request for information from the IRS, keep the following in mind.
- The IRS will not communicate with a taxpayer or send a message about a tax account through email. All communication is sent through the U.S. Postal Service.
- The IRS will never ask for personal or financial information, like a PIN, password or a credit card and bank account number.
- The address of the official IRS website ends in .gov. Don’t be tricked by a site claiming to be the IRS, but it’s address ends in .com or another designation.
In this specific case, you can also check out what a real CP2000 notice looks like by visiting the IRS web page, “Understanding Your CP2000 Notice”.
When in doubt, call it out
If you’re still contemplating whether a notice you received is official, don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and ask the IRS directly. The agency can tell you if they have a reason to contact you.
If the notice is a scam, be sure to report it to the IRS. By doing so, you can help prevent others from being victimized.