As social networks have gone mainstream, so have the scammers that are attracted to any communication tool, especially tools that allow them anonymity like email, Twitter, and even Facebook. Phishing scams, which are unsolicited messages that appear to be legitimate, ask you to give them personal information nor financial information, allowing them to hack into your bank account or personal accounts and either access your money or send emails and messages that look like you sent them, but you did not, and now the people who open that message and click on a link are now in the same trouble as your account.
Who would be the agency that you would most likely give personal information besides your bank? Probably the Internal Revenue Service, right? Right. Because people are getting legitimate looking messages online, the IRS is going out of its way to make sure the world knows that they do not “initiate contact with taxpayers by email or any social media tools to request personal or financial information.”
Never give your personal or financial information out online which includes your social security number, mother’s maiden name, bank account numbers, any “verification” of any password, or other identifiable information. Experts say if your personal information is really needed, mail or telephone calls from a known number is the common method for reaching you.
Because the IRS says they will never contact you online, they ask that all unsolicited emails or social media messages claiming to be from either the IRS or any other IRS-related components such as the Office of Professional Responsibility or EFTPS, should be reported to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The agency says if you have experienced monetary losses due to an IRS-related incident, you should file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission through the Complaint Assistant to make that information available to investigators.
Related: the Better Business Bureau outlines the top 10 scams.