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IRS will not contact taxpayers by phone or email

Posted: 2:58 PM, Feb 19, 2016
Updated: 2016-02-19 23:21:18Z

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The Internal Revenue Service says phishing and malware scams are up 400 percent from last year.

The online scams target taxpayers in the form of an email or text message. In these fake messages, the hackers ask taxpayers to update their online account information and Electronic Filing Identification Numbers (EFINs).

"It always seems like there's a new angle," said Steve McDermott, owner of six Liberty Tax Service locations in Colorado. "Once we figure out one, there's another one."

This January, the IRS recorded 1,026 scam incidents, compared to 254 in January 2015. February is also off to a bad start with 363 incidents. In February 2015, there were only 201 incidents total.

The IRS says it will not contact taxpayers by phone, email or social media.

"The best thing to do is file now, because you might just beat a hacker's attempt to file on your behalf," said McDermott.

He says the IRS has started to assign six-digit numbers to certain accounts to make it harder to trick the system.

"Just having the social (SSN) protect your identity isn't enough anymore," said McDermott.

If you received a scam message, email the IRS at phishing@irs.gov.