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Regulation and Compliance > Federal Regulation > IRS

IRS Warns of Rise in Text Scams Targeting Personal, Financial Data

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What You Need to Know

  • Smishing campaigns target mobile phone users, and messages often look like they’re coming from the IRS.

The Internal Revenue Service warned taxpayers Wednesday of a rise in IRS-related texting scams targeting personal and financial information.

So far in 2022, the IRS said that it has identified and reported “thousands of fraudulent domains tied to multiple MMS/SMS/text scams (known as smishing) targeting taxpayers.”

In recent months, and especially in the last few weeks, IRS-themed smishing has increased exponentially, the agency said.

Smishing campaigns “target mobile phone users, and the scam messages often look like they’re coming from the IRS, offering lures like fake COVID relief, tax credits or help setting up an IRS online account,” the IRS said.

Recipients of these IRS-related scams can report them to [email protected].

“This is phishing on an industrial scale so thousands of people can be at risk of receiving these scam messages,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig in a statement.  “In recent months, the IRS has reported multiple large-scale smishing campaigns that have delivered thousands — and even hundreds of thousands — of IRS-themed messages in hours or a few days, far exceeding previous levels of activity.”

The latest activity includes scam texts that often ask taxpayers to click a link where phishing websites will try to collect their information or potentially send malicious code onto their phones, according to the agency.

The IRS does not send emails or text messages asking for personal or financial information or account numbers. These messages should all be red flags for taxpayers, the IRS states.


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