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Avoid the “Dirty Dozen” Tax Scams!
Author: Esther Silver
Associated Services:IT Security Outreach and Training
The link to the quiz is at the end of the article.
The Internal Revenue Service has announced its 2023 “Dirty Dozen” list of tax scams. According to IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel, "Scammers are coming up with new ways all the time to try to steal information from taxpayers. People should be wary and avoid sharing sensitive personal data over the phone, email, or social media to avoid getting caught up in these scams. And people should always remember to be wary if a tax deal sounds too good to be true.”
Here is a summary of the IRS 2023 announcement on what to avoid:
- Fake communications from those posing as legitimate organizations in the tax and financial community, including the IRS and the US states
- Swindlers posing as a "helpful" third party who offer to help create a taxpayer's IRS Online Account at IRS.gov
- Unscrupulous tax preparers promising huge tax refunds or encouraging people to inflate their refunds by erroneously claiming the fuel tax credit or other bogus tax avoidance strategies
- Fake charity organizations taking advantage of the public's generosity
- Ghost tax preparers who will not sign as the preparer or provide their IRS Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN)
- Misleading tax information on social media and bogus tax forms
- Tax preparers with inadequate cybersecurity
- Schemes with International elements like offshore accounts
- Spear phishing attacks to try to steal taxpayers’ information to file fraudulent tax returns and claim refunds
The IRS estimates that identity thieves have stolen billions via tax fraud. Don’t become another victim!
Be on the alert for:
- Any message asking for W-2 or other tax information
- Authentic looking emails impersonating UC or UCSF communications about accessing your W-2
- Messages that look like they are from executive management requesting copies of employee W-2s for review purposes
- Messages with links that encourage you to click on them, offer you something for nothing, or threaten you
- Any message asking for your user ID or passwords
- Unexpected phone calls about tax information or charitable donations or calls asking you to install software
- Scrutinize all communications for indications of fraud. For a list of what makes a communication suspicious, review Cialdini’s 6 Principles of Persuasion: A Simple Summary.
- To access your W-2 statement, visit the University of California UCPath website via MyAccess instead of clicking on a link in an email.
- Use a different way to validate any request for W-2 or other tax information, even if it looks like a legitimate request. For example, if you receive an email, call the person to verify.
- Do not reply to emails asking for your password or SSN.
- Familiarize yourself with the IRS’ "Dirty Dozen" tax scams so you recognize them.
Everyone who passes is entered to win one of six $50 Amazon Gift Cards
- Owning Team: IT Security
Team Lead: Patrick Phelan