IRS Hacked Again and Tax Scams Continue

The IRS just announced that was hacked again.  The other concerning news is scammers continue to call unsuspecting taxpayers trying to collect money for fake tax balances.

Last year it was reported that the IRS was hacked.   According to the IRS, identity thieves stole taxpayer information from 220,000 taxpayers.   The thieves used the IRS “Get Transcript” system available on the website.

The IRS website was hacked again.  This time the thieves used an automated bot to generate E-file PINs for 460,000 stolen social security numbers.  The thieves were able to generate 101,000 E-file PINs.  An E-file PIN is required to electronically file a tax return.  With the stolen social security number and E-file PIN, the identity thieves have sufficient information to E-file fraudulent tax returns.

The IRS said attempts to actually file fraudulent returns have been blocked.  The IRS will send a letter to all affected taxpayers.  A federal investigation was started to find the source of the hack.

IRS tax phone scams continue to be an issue and scammers are getting more aggressive on pursuing taxpayers.  There was a recent story out of Colorado Springs, CO.  The scammer called posing as an IRS agent.  A fake IRS badge number was provided.  The scammer demanded the taxpayer to pay back taxes.  The taxpayer got scared and went to the bank.  The taxpayer explained the situation with the bank manager.  The bank manager called the scammer because of reported IRS tax scams.  The scammer said the same thing to the bank manager.  The scammer continued to call the taxpayer over the next several hours.  The scammer demanded payment and threatened to call the police.  The scammer said the taxpayer was facing three to five years of jail time.

This is typical of the IRS tax scam calls. The scammer will make demands to pay back taxes and will use intimation tactics to meet those demands.

The story out of Colorado Springs, CO took an odd twist.  While the scammers were talking with the taxpayer, the scammers actually called 911.  The scammers told 911 that the taxpayer was hurting people and threaten to kill police officers.  The police swarmed the taxpayer’s house.  The local school was locked down.  The taxpayer was bombarded with phone calls; calls from the scammer and calls from the police.  The taxpayer didn’t know if the phone call was from the police or the scammer.  It was a scary situation.  This situation was safely resolved but it serves as a warning to all.

Remember these three tips if you get a call from the IRS

1. The IRS never accepts payments over the phone.

2. The IRS will never send you an email.

3. Call the IRS directly at 800-829-1040 if you get a questionable call.