March 06, 2019

The IRS Dirty Dozen – Tax ID Theft Ranks Top of the List

Tax Identity theft is still a MAJOR concern for the IRS’ Dirty Dozen

The IRS releases a top 12 list of schemes each year known as the Dirty Dozen. The most recent list released March 6, 2019 shows that while there has been progress in the prevention and detection of false returns which may have used stolen identities to claim fraudulent tax refunds, scammers continue to modify their devious tactics to steal money and personal information from unsuspecting victims.

Tax identity theft occurs when someone uses a stolen Social Security Number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) to file a fraudulent tax return claiming a refund.

Along with the rise of data breaches of secure, private and confidential personal information, fraudsters also use a variety of methods to obtain personal information.

A Few ID Theft Tactics You Should Know

 1. Phishing emails: Fake emails or websites are used to trick taxpayers into providing their personal information. Criminals will send an email including a link urging you update an account. The email can appear to be coming from the IRS or from another trusted source using their logos (usually the criminal has done some research on the target). The link directs the victim to what seems to be a trusted website but in reality, is a phishing website controlled by the criminal. Do not click on links or open attachments pretending to be from the IRS. The IRS will not initiate communication with you via email regarding a tax bill or tax refund. If you are unsure if the email is a valid request from your account holder, contact them directly.

 2. Phone scams: Phone calls from impersonators demanding money or personal information. Do not provide any information and hang up. Valid creditors will always communicate by mail.

 3. Fake charity donation requests: Scammers set up fake charities to deceive contributors. They prey on well-intentioned donors particularly following a natural disaster or other widely known tragedies. They solicit money either by phone, email, or even in person. These criminals may even contact disaster victims and claim to be working on behalf of the IRS with the foal of gaining access to personal information under the pretext of filing a casualty loss claim. Beware. The IRS has an online search tool to verify qualified charities called Tax Exempt Organization Search

For more information on how to protect yourself from Tax Identity Theft, please go to and read about Tax Identity Recovery.