With the tax deadline looming, taxpayers need to prepare for unexpected emails and phone calls purporting last-minute issues with returns or refunds. Watch out for high urgency notices or key phrases like “incomplete filing” and “problem with your refund.”
Fraudsters are phishing for personal information, while unethical companies are attempting to upsell tax preparation services.
Consumers comply out of fear that refunds will be delayed or agree because they are short on time and don’t want to re-start their tax filings.
Better Business Bureau serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington encourages skepticism with unsolicited or unexpected “tax problem” notices and phone calls. Watch out for red flags:
- Blocked or random phone numbers.
- Unrecognizable senders with limited contact information in signature lines.
- Blank “To” fields; “BCC” reaches mass-recipients.
- Attachments and unfamiliar Web addresses.
- Heavy foreign accents or poor grammar.
- Threatening or aggressive tactics.
The Internal Revenue Service does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information. If contacts are claiming to be from the IRS, the Department of Revenue or a tax preparation company, verify with those sources directly; only use official websites or trusted public directories—not contact information enclosed in emails or numbers on caller IDs. Report phishing and use irs.gov to track refunds.For more tax phishing avoidance tips, visit bbb.org or attend Secure Your ID Day on April 20, 2013: akorww.bbb.org/secure-your-id.