Identity Theft

IRS Kicks Off Annual “Dirty Dozen” List of Tax Scams by Warning Taxpayers about Phishing Schemes

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) – the nation’s tax collection agency – has kicked off its annual “Dirty Dozen” list of worst tax scams for 2019 by warning taxpayers of the ongoing threat of internet phishing schemes that can lead to tax-related fraud and identity theft, according to a news release from the IRS.

IRS Dirty Dozen List of Tax Scams

“Taxpayers should be on constant guard for these phishing schemes, which can be tricky and cleverly disguised to look like it’s the IRS. Watch out for emails and other scams posing as the IRS, promising a big refund or personally threatening people,” IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig stated in the news release.

The IRS warns taxpayers, businesses, and tax professionals to be alert for a continuing surge of fake emails, text messages, websites, and social media attempts to steal personal information since these attacks tend to increase during tax season and remain a major danger of identity theft.

The IRS continues to see a steady stream of new and evolving phishing schemes as criminals work to victimize taxpayers throughout the year. Whether through legitimate-looking emails with fake website landing pages or social media approaches, the end goal is the same: stealing personal information.

The IRS has also seen more advanced phishing schemes targeting the personal or financial information available in the files of tax professionals, human resources personnel, and organizations such as Form W-2 information. These are business email compromise (BEC) or business email spoofing (BES) scams.

The IRS has warned of the direct deposit variation of the BEC/BES scam and continues to receive reports of direct deposit scams. The Direct Deposit and other BEC/BES variations should be sent to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). The IRS requests that Form W-2 scams be reported to [email protected].

The IRS also urges taxpayers to learn how to protect themselves by reviewing safety tips prepared by the Security Summit, a collaborative effort between the IRS, state revenue departments and the private-sector tax community. To learn more, visit

The IRS highlights one tax scam on 12 consecutive weekdays to help raise awareness to help protect taxpayers against these and other threats. Phishing schemes are the first of the 2019 IRS “Dirty Dozen” scams. To see the rest of the “Dirty Dozen” list of tax scams, visit

IRS Tax Scams Just One Form of Identity Theft

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