IRS Reports Email Scams Jump 400 Percent

The IRS reported that phishing and malware incidents have jumped 400 percent so far during the 2016 filing season. The Service has renewed its warning against email scams designed to trick taxpayers into thinking they are official communications from the Service or others in the tax industry, including tax software companies.

Phishing schemes ask taxpayers about a wide range of topics including information related to refunds, filing status, confirming personal information, ordering transcripts and verifying personal identification number (PIN) information. The emails direct taxpayers to websites that ask for Social Security numbers and other personal information, and might carry malware that could infect computers and allow criminals access to personal files.

"This dramatic jump in these scams comes at the busiest time of tax season. We continue to work cooperatively with our partners on this issue, and we have taken steps to strengthen our processing systems and fraud filters to watch for scam artists trying to use stolen information to file bogus tax returns," said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. "While more attention has focused on the continuing IRS phone scams, we are deeply worried this increase in email schemes threatens more taxpayers," he added.

To protect taxpayers, the IRS has teamed up with state revenue departments and the tax industry as part of the "Taxes. Security. Together." campaign. The IRS instructs taxpayers to report email scams and phishing incidents to phishing@irs.gov. The Service also reminds taxpayers that it does not contact taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information.

IR-2016-28