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Wednesday July 24, 2024

Washington News

Washington Hotline

Will AI Protect Taxpayers from Scams?

At a Inflation Reduction Act industry conference held on June 5, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Transformation Lead for Notifications and Scams, Kareem Williams, discussed the latest efforts to protect taxpayers. The IRS is exploring options with private companies to provide "real-time solutions" when new scams arise.

There is extensive interest by IRS staff in using artificial intelligence (AI) to uncover scams. Williams commented, "We need you to bring your expertise as to other ways that we can creatively and safely and responsibly use AI to disrupt scams and schemes."

The IRS is in the process of pursuing a "full-spectrum solution and an alert system to communicate across agencies and other stakeholders." This new communication effort could include the IRS, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the banking industry.

The IRS and its Security Summit partners continue to provide guidance to taxpayers on avoiding tax and financial scams. There are specific strategies that help taxpayers reduce risk.

  1. Slow Down - Scammers often use urgency to pressure victims. The IRS emphasizes that the process for audit and collection is deliberate. If a scammer demands immediate action, you should pause and ask questions. By slowing down and exploring the situation, you are much less likely to get into trouble.
  2. Check Out Person - If you are contacted by an individual claiming to be from the IRS or another government agency, you should check the specific details. Find out who the individual is and their job title and role with the organization. You can use your favorite search engine to check the name, background and credibility of the person or the organization that is claiming to contact you. An effective method is to enter the name of the individual or organization and the word "scam" when doing your search.
  3. Do Not Send Money or Gift Cards - The scammer will frequently demand an immediate transfer of funds to pay taxes or for another purpose. They may deliberately rush you into using an unusual payment method. This might be a gift card, cryptocurrency or a wire transfer from your bank. If the caller requests immediate payment with unusual methods, you should recognize it as a scam and refuse to send the funds.

If you think you are a victim of a scam, you should retain any emails, messages or paperwork. You can send emails to the IRS at [email protected] . If you discover a false tax return was submitted in your name, use the IRS Identity Theft Affidavit (Form 14039).

If you sent your credit card number or bank account information, contact the bank or credit card company immediately. Their fraud transaction division may be able to return your funds and stop additional transactions. If you used a gift card or wire transfer, contact the issuer or your bank. There may still be a possibility of stopping the transaction.

Finally, if you have given the fraudster your Social Security number or other personal information, the three major credit agencies (Experian, TransUnion and Equifax) can place a fraud alert on your credit report. This makes it more difficult for the scammer to open new accounts based on your stolen information.

Published June 7, 2024
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