7 On Your Side: Beware tax season email scammers

By Courtney Lane - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - The Better Business Bureau says lots of East Texans are getting emails from scammers, claiming to be from the IRS. They look very legitimate, but one wrong move and your entire bank account could be wiped out.

"They're very intelligent," said Mechele Agbayani-Mills, with the BBB. "They're very convincing."

And, right now, they are preying on taxpayers.

The BBB says phony emails can entice you to respond by saying you are entitled to an additional refund, an economic stimulus check, or ask you to fill out an online survey.

"They may even use scare tactics saying that you're under investigation for tax avoidance," explained Agbayani-Mills.

They are using every trick in the book to get your personal information.

"All for the purposes of either opening accounts in your name or clearing out accounts you currently have," said Agbayani-Mills.

The first thing you should know is that the IRS says they will never send you an email.

"If there's an issue with your tax refund, you'll receive a notice or a letter in the mail," said Clay Sanford, with the IRS.

"If you receive an email saying it's from the IRS pretty much it's 100 percent guaranteed that it's a scam," said Agbayani-Mills.

But, the IRS says scammers are also calling Texans, posing as IRS agents. If you get a call, ask for their badge number and call back.

"You can call our 1-800-829-1040 line and you can ask for a badge number," said Sanford. "You can ask to identify the employee that way."

And, because so many emails are flooding inboxes, the IRS is warning you not to even open them.

"We've had reports that some of these emails contain viruses that can get into your computer," said Sanford.

So simply delete.

The IRS also says they will never ask you for passwords or PIN numbers. If the agency needs to seize your bank account, they can just do it.

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