From time to time, we must return to talking about scams in this space. And well, now is another of those times.
Last week, the IRS released a notice concerning the increasing prevalence of text scams. This isn’t necessarily surprising as I definitely feel like more random texts of this form have been hitting my phone lately. If anything, it should only be surprising that it has taken scammers this long to get to using text messages in this way. At least personally, I find it much easier to ignore an email than a text message (mostly just because of how many of each are received), so even the nefarious text messages I am more likely to look at than random emails.
But even if the delivery mechanism is new, a lot of the same rules apply. First, if you do not know why you are receiving the message, don’t follow any link that it points you to. These are often phishing scams looking to gain information from you that can then be used to access more sensitive information. This is true whether it is purportedly from the IRS or any financial institution.
Next, know that the IRS will not first contact you about any issue through a text message. The agency also will NEVER contact you via email or text to ask for personal or financial information.
Finally, with texts, take a second when it is received to realize what it is asking. With some banking and credit card transactions, you may receive a text message concerning account access, incorrect PIN numbers, questionable transactions, etc. This can be a powerful tool in combatting fraud but could also be a scam. So if you receive something like that that you are unsure about, it will be more secure to access your bank information how you normally do (not through any texted link) or actually call the institution to determine if the notice is legit and to address it if so.
Since last week, Hurricane Ian ripped through the southeastern part of the country, and following it, the IRS offered some tax relief for people in those areas, giving them an extension on how long they have to file certain tax returns or make some payments.
Overall, this often happens for areas who go through a natural disaster. And sure, for those who are seriously affected by such things, this is only a slight balm, but it is something. This is a reminder for all those affected (or ever affected in the future) to check to see if this type of leeway is being offered and hopefully take one more thing off your plate.
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