The first scam in the 12-part series is “phishing” schemes, designed to gather personal information or money from the taxpayer. These new or evolving phishing schemes work specifically to target taxpayers during filing season.
One new phishing scam victimizing thousands of taxpayers includes depositing money into the taxpayer’s bank account. The scam artist gains access to client data from tax professionals, and then files a fraudulent tax return, using the taxpayer’s own bank account to deposit funds. Once the funds are deposited, the thief then uses various tactics to reclaim the refund from the taxpayer, including falsely claiming to be from a collection agency or the IRS. Phone calls, emails and websites are used to make the scheme seem legitimate.
Email phishing schemes targeting tax, payroll or human resource professionals have also been on the rise in recent weeks. Criminals use email to pose as a person or organization the taxpayer trusts by either hacking an email account to send mass emails to personal contacts or posing as a bank, credit card company, tax software provider or government agency. These criminals will create websites appearing to be legitimate, but containing phony log-in pages, hoping taxpayers will provide personal information or make a payment.
Another email tactic is to infect a taxpayer’s computer with malware giving the criminal access to the device. This allows the criminal to access files or track keyboard strokes to gather login information.
“It is vital that taxpayers remain vigilant during tax season,” said DOR Commissioner Adam Krupp. “When in doubt, contact DOR or the IRS before clicking on any link or attachment in an email. Remember DOR will never ask for sensitive taxpayer information through email correspondence.”
If individuals receive any unexpected correspondence appearing to be from DOR or the IRS, please report it at:
- Indiana Department of Revenue
Phone: 317-232-2240, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. EST