New scams are popping up every day. Today, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and its Security Summit partners issued an alert to taxpayers and tax professionals to be on guard against fake emails purporting to contain an IRS tax bill related to the Affordable Care Act.
The IRS says that it has received numerous reports of the scam which involves an email with an attachment. The email attachment is typically a fake CP2000 notice for the tax year 2015. That’s your first red flag: a real CP2000 notice is mailed to taxpayers through the U.S. Postal Service. It is never sent as part of an email to taxpayers.
Here’s what else to look for:
- The fake CP2000 notices appear to be issued from an Austin, Texas, address;
- The underreported issue is related to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requesting information regarding 2014 coverage;
- The payment voucher lists the letter number as 105C;
- The fake CP2000 notice included a payment request that taxpayers mail a check made out to “I.R.S.” to the “Austin Processing Center” at a Post Office Box address; and
- The check request is in addition to a “payment” link within the email itself.
You can check out a sample fake CP2000 notice here (downloads as a pdf).
If you receive this scam email, do not respond and do not open the attachment. Forward the email to firstname.lastname@example.org and then delete it.
To help you determine if a CP2000 notice you received in the mail is real, you can compare it to a sample CP2000 notice from IRS found here (downloads as a pdf).
Typically, a CP2000 is generated when income reported from third-party sources (like your employer) does not match what is reported on the tax return. The notice provides instructions about what to do next.
(For more about how to respond to a real CP2000 notice, check out this prior post from Forbes staffer Ashlea Ebeling.)
The issue has been reported to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration for investigation.
If you get an email asking you to visit a website or answer personal questions, do not reply and do not click on any links in the email. Remember that the IRS has previously confirmed they will not:
- Call to demand immediate payment over the phone, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you several bills.
- Call or email you to verify your identity by asking for personal and financial information.
- Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
- Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.
- Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone or email.
Don’t fall for the tricks. Keep your personal information safe by remaining alert. For tips on protecting yourself from identity theft-related tax fraud, click here.