Watch Out for Scammers Using Phishing or Smishing Email and Text Messages

Each year, the IRS releases its “Dirty Dozen” of common tax-related scams. For 2023, the category related to fake communications posing as legitimate organizations in the tax and financial community, especially phishing and smishing scams, may be of particular relevance to local governments and their employees. The IRS describes these scams as follows:

  • Phishing is an email sent by fraudsters claiming to come from the IRS or another legitimate organization, including state tax organizations or a financial firm. The email lures the victims into the scam by a variety of ruses such as enticing victims with a phony tax refund or frightening them with false legal/criminal charges for tax fraud.
  • Smishing is a text or smartphone SMS message that uses the same technique as phishing. Scammers often use alarming language like, "Your account has now been put on hold," or "Unusual Activity Report" with a bogus "Solutions" link to restore the recipient's account. Unexpected tax refunds are another potential target for scam artists.

This IRS news release, dated March 21, 2023, as well as guidance on where to report attempted scams can be viewed on the IRS website.

A more general IRS Dirty Dozen link – which includes 2023 and prior year information can be viewed on the IRS website.

Date this Avoiding Pitfall was most recently published: 3/24/2023