The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has issued a warning about a new scam mail scheme that’s targeting taxpayers.
The tax scam involves attempting to trick people into believing the government owes them money.
“The new scheme involves a mailing coming in a cardboard envelope from a delivery service,” the IRS said in a statement.
Inside the cardboard envelope is a letter on IRS masthead that appears to be official.
The letter fraudulently claims that the notice is “in relation to your unclaimed refund.”
The letter continues by asking taxpayers to provide sensitive personal information, including detailed photographs of the recipient’s driver’s license, all while dangling the prospect of obtaining unclaimed tax refund dollars.
The scammers are trying to obtain data that can be used by thieves to obtain a tax refund or other sensitive financial information.
“This is just the latest in the long string of attempts by identity thieves posing as the IRS in hopes of tricking people into providing valuable personal information to steal identities and money, including tax refunds,” IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel said in a statement.
The scam letter features several telltale signs that the mailing is fraudulent, however.
According to the IRS, one unusual feature is that it tries to trick people to email very detailed personal information.
It tells recipients they need to provide “filing information” for their tax refunds.
There are also several other warning signs, including strange punctuation and a mixture of different fonts.
Some requests are awkwardly worded, such as: “A Clear Phone of Your Driver’s License That Clearly Displays All Four (4) Angles, Taken in a Place with Good Lighting.”
The fraudulent notification then asks for additional information that is sensitive, with the wording of the request also awkward.
“You’ll Need to Get This to Get Your Refunds After Filing,” the letter reads, according to the IRS.
“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.”
The letter also contains some inaccurate information.
Specifically, it claims that the deadline for filing tax refunds for those who have an extension to file is October 17, 2023.
However, the correct deadline is actually October 16.
“These scams can come in through email, text, or even in special mailings,” Commissioner Werfel said.
“People should be careful to watch out for red flags that clearly mark these as IRS scams.”
In Monday’s alert, the IRS also cautioned taxpayers to exercise caution when getting messages that may seem to be from acquaintances or loved ones.
Such messages could potentially be sent from hijacked or compromised email or text accounts.
These deceptive tactics continue to be widely used to deceive individuals and tax preparers through various fraudulent schemes.
In order to avoid getting scammed, the IRS urged people to confirm the sender’s identity by employing an alternative means of communication.
For example, they should consider dialing a phone number they independently know to be accurate instead of using the number provided in the suspicious email or text message.