Cybersecurity Expert Adam Levin Warns This Tax Season Consumers Need to Beware of a New Scam Where Your Tax Advocate Could Really Be Your Tax Adversary Trying to Steal Your Data and Money

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There is a new twist on IRS impersonation scams. Now scammers are not only pretending to be IRS agents, but they are also claiming to be calling from the Taxpayer Advocate Service hotline.

The fraudsters spoof the caller id so it looks like it is coming from the legitimate hotline number, specifically from the cities of Houston or Brooklyn.

Calls may also be ‘robocalls’ that prompt victims to call back. Once the taxpayer returns the call, they are asked for personal information including their SSN or ITIN, individual taxpayer identification number.

Like other impersonation phone scams, the fraudster will also demand immediate payment of supposed back taxes via prepaid card, wire transfer or event Itunes cards.  They are often hostile and threaten the victim with jail time.

TAS has been set up to protect taxpayer rights and offer assistance if the taxpayer is experiencing financial difficulty or has a major dispute with the IRS.

The key red flag is that just with typical IRS impersonation calls, the TAS does not initiate calls with taxpayers.  The taxpayer would need to contact the office directly.

Adam Levin, Founder of CyberScout and author of Swiped says ” Scammers will often use fake names and IRS badge numbers to identify themselves and they will spoof the caller id so the call looks official.  Consumers need to watch out for red flags like the IRS will never call, email or text you.  They use snail mail.  They will never threaten you with jail time or demand funds via wire transfer, pre-paid card or iTunes card.  They will never ask for your SSn or credit card information over the phone.   If you receive a call, text or email supposedly coming from the IRS, hang up and don’t click on any links.  If you are the victim of an imposter scam, contact the IRS fraud department and report the fraud to the FTC.”