IRS warns people of audit scams

Published 12:27 am Thursday, January 31, 2008

VIDALIA — If you get an e-mail from the IRS telling you you’re going to be audited this tax season, don’t panic. You’re not being audited — you’re being scammed.

The e-mail contains a link to a Web site with forms that solicit personal and account information, which the scammers will then use to commit identity theft.

The IRS does not initiate contact with a taxpayer through e-mail, IRS media relations officer Dee Harris said.

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“If a person is going to be audited we will contact them through the mail, and the letter will detail the deductions in question and it will detail what documents they need to bring,” Harris said.

A similar scam currently making the rounds across the Internet informs recipients they are eligible for a tax refund, and offers a link to a Web site with a form purporting to be a refund claim form with spaces for bank account or credit card account information.

The only way to apply for a tax refund is through filing a tax return, Harris said.

All official IRS links will end in the official .gov, and not .com or .net, Harris said.

Taxpayers also need to be skeptical of any telephone calls they receive from someone claiming to be an IRS agent, Harris said.

A current scam has a caller telling the taxpayer they are eligible for a significant tax rebate for filing their taxes early. The caller then asks for the taxpayer’s bank account number on the grounds that the rebate will direct deposited into their account.

“If you’re not already working with an IRS agent you are not going to receive an e-mail or phone call from them,” Harris said.