Over the past few years, the IRS has focused extra resources on finding new ways to combat prevalent tax scams. These initiatives are designed to identify new scams, collect essential details, and issue alerts quickly. Many of these efforts originate through the Security Summit, which includes the IRS, state tax agencies, tax preparation firms, software developers, and financial institutions. As part of the Summer News Release Series, the IRS recently shared details on the most common scams currently being perpetrated by cybercriminals in order to steal taxpayers’ data and file fraudulent tax returns. This includes ongoing ERTC, Economic Impact Payments, and tax return problems, among others. To help clients, prospects, and others, Selden Fox has provided a summary of the key details below.

Third Round of Economic Impact Payments Scam

Cybercriminals have started a phishing scam that promises to help taxpayers claim the third round of Economic Impact Payments from the federal government. The third round of Economic Impact Payments were issued more than two years ago. The statements contained in these communications about payments are simply not true.

When recipients click on the embedded URL in the email, they are taken to a website that captures personally identifiable information such as social security numbers and date of birth. The entire process is designed to collect information that allows scammers to commit identity theft or worse.

The IRS has warned taxpayers to be on the lookout for spelling errors and factual inaccuracies in the messages they receive. If they see messages around Economic Impact Payments and are being asked to click a link in the message, they should not be taken in by the promise of additional funds. 

Tax Return “Problems” Scam

Taxpayers may also receive messages claiming something went wrong with their federal tax returns. These have often come in the form of text messages, with names like “govirs-accnnt2023” being used. If an individual receives a message that the federal return was banned or needs to be fixed in some way, do not click on the link. It is better to lookup the return status on the IRS website or contact a tax professional for assistance with the issue.

“Claim Your Tax Refund Online” Scam

While there are federal programs that allow individuals to find and apply for unclaimed money, this scam preys on this idea to tempt people to submit personal information. The message may include a notice about excess payment, prompting the taxpayer to claim the rest of the credit by clicking on a link. Again, recipients should look out for misspellings or inaccuracies that don’t make sense. Recent posts have included blue headlines that say, “Claim your tax refund online.”


The Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC), otherwise known as the Employee Retention Credit or the ERC, has been a frequent topic of fraudulent messages. While the actual credit is relatively narrow in scope, both in the types of businesses that are covered and the period of eligibility, fraudsters are using the program to erroneously claim that more businesses can apply, and that filing comes with no risks.

Businesses may receive messages about claiming the credit via email or text message. They may also see promotion on social media, radio, or television. Promises of quick eligibility or high fees to apply are warning signs that the ERC program promoter could be a scammer. Improper filing for the credit comes with potentially steep consequences including penalties and interest.

Important Reminders

The IRS will never send messages about tax refunds or bills via email, text, or social media. Clicking on or filling in information on these messages can result in identity theft, malware, and ransomware attacks. Cybercriminals may also send messages pretending to be a loved one or using the stolen accounts of friends and family. If something sounds off, it could be a scammer using this method to try and steal your information.

Contact Us

Tax scams are constantly evolving and appear more authentic and legitimate than ever before. Taxpayers need to pay careful attention to communications purporting to be from the IRS and exercise caution before sharing information. If you have questions about the information outlined above or need assistance with a tax or accounting issue, Selden Fox can help. For additional information call 630.954.1400 or click here to contact us. We look forward to speaking with you soon.

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