HOUSTON (CW39)  Heads up taxpayers! The IRS is dropping 2021 “Dirty Dozen” list to help taxpayers, tax professionals and financial institutions lookout for nefarious schemes and scams.  The list is separated into the following categories: pandemic-related scams like Economic Impact Payment theft; personal information cons including phishing, ransomware and phone ‘vishing’; ruses focusing on unsuspecting victims like fake charities and senior/immigrant fraud; and schemes that persuade taxpayers into unscrupulous actions such as Offer In Compromise mills and syndicated conservation easements.  The IRS is urging taxpayers to be on guard for themselves and others in their lives. 

We continue to see scam artists use the pandemic to steal money and information from honest taxpayers in a time of crisis. We provide this list to alert taxpayers about common scams that fraudsters use against their victims. At the IRS, we are dedicated to stopping these criminals, but it’s up to all of us to remain vigilant to protect ourselves and our families.

IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig

The Economic Impact payments, also known the stimulus payments, continues to be a threat for identity theft.  IRS will automatically send the payments to eligible individuals.  They say the following are tell-tale signs that you’re dealing with a stimulus scam:

  • Any text messages, random incoming phone calls or emails inquiring about bank account information or requesting recipients to click a link or verify data should be considered suspicious and deleted without opening.
  • Be alert to mailbox theft.  Frequently check mail and report suspected mail losses to Postal Inspectors.
  • The IRS won’t initiate contact by phone, email, text or social media asking for Social Security numbers or other personal or financial information related to Economic Impact Payments.

To help taxpayers avoid identify theft the IRS created its Identity Protection PIN program, also known as the IP PIN.  Previously, this program was only available for victims of identity theft in certain states, but it’s now available for all taxpayers.  The IP PIN is a six-digit code only for the taxpayer and the IRS.  The code stops identity thieves from filing fraudulent tax returns using a taxpayer’s personally identifiable information.  For more on the IP PIN program or to view the “Dirty Dozen” tax scams click this link.