IRS text scam continues to grow across region
Published 10:15 pm Wednesday, June 7, 2023
Another scam is making its way around. Even though phishing scams are nothing new, this one is taking a new approach by sending text messages claiming to be from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). A press release by Ideal Tax reported that Google searches for “IRS text scam” jumped 809% at the end of May.
This new phishing scheme preys on the many Americans who are stressed about tax issues by claiming to be the IRS. The text is a flipped script on what many are used to. Usually, folks receive a phone call claiming to be from the IRS with threats to get the person to pay. Instead, this text claims to have a tax rebate or refund payment to get payment information in this less expected way.
These text messages usually have some sort of link to click to claim the refund. Folks are warned not to click this link as this puts them at risk of having information stolen or malware installed into their phone unknowingly. It’s best not to click any links or give any personal information unless it is from a trusted and confirmed source.
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“There are several things people can do to keep their information safe,” said Sam Bowles, who serves as the public information and special projects officer for the Farmville Police Department.
The police department gets calls from residents about many types of scams as they cycle through. Here are some tips to stay safe whether it is an IRS text scam or the next one that pops up.
Remember that the IRS will never use text messages or emails to make contact for the first time. The first contact is always by an official letter in the mail. There are certain circumstances that the IRS will use phone calls or in-person visits however this will be due to an overdue tax bill, an unfiled tax return or someone that has not made an employment tax deposit. When it comes to a tax refund, text messages are not the typical IRS way.
“If a citizen is ever in doubt or concerned, they can call their respective law enforcement agency for their jurisdiction for any questions or concerns,” said Bowles.
When in doubt, folks can also check their status on the official IRS website to see if the unexpected message is from the IRS or holds any truth. Anyone on the receiving end of these messages are encouraged to send screenshots to firstname.lastname@example.org.