Home ScamsPhishing Scams ‘Problem Calculating Your Return’ IRS Phishing Scam

‘Problem Calculating Your Return’ IRS Phishing Scam

by Brett M. Christensen

Phishing Scam

According to this email, which purports to be from the IRS, there has been a problem calculating your tax return and with your filed Social Security Number (SSN). The message claims that the IRS has reviewed your tax information and, because it has ‘verified the possibility of identity theft’, your account has been locked.

Supposedly, the SSN listed on your return belongs to a deceased person. The email advises you to click a link to supply your correct information or risk tax penalties. It includes the IRS logo.

However, the email is certainly not from the IRS. In fact, it is a phishing scam designed to trick  you into divulging your personal and financial information to cybercriminals.

If you click the link, you will be taken to a fraudulent website hosted in eastern Europe. Forms on the fake website ask you to supply your SSN, as well as your name and contact details and other identifying information. The forms also ask you to supply credit card and banking details, ostensibly to allow your refund to be payed to you.

If you fall for the ruse and submit the requested information, the criminals may then be able to steal your identity and commit financial fraud in your name. The IRS warns people about these phishing scams on its website, noting:

The IRS doesn’t initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or social media channels to request personal or financial information. This includes requests for PIN numbers, passwords or similar access information for credit cards, banks or other financial accounts.

Tax refund related scams are very common and target taxpayers in a number of countries. The following Hoax-Slayer YouTube video provides more information about such scams.




EXAMPLE:

Subject: Problem Calculating Your Return

Problem with filed SSN

We reviewed your tax information and have verified the possibility of identity theft. We have placed an identity theft indicator on your account.

You received CP 01H notice because we were unable to process your tax return. The IRS has locked your account because the Social Security Administration informed us that the Social Security number (SSN) of the primary or secondary taxpayer on the return belongs to someone who was deceased prior to the current tax year (before January 1, 2015 for a 2015 tax return).

You are required to supply your correct information to avoid any Tax Penalty.

To get started go here now >>

We previously sent you a CP63 notice informing you we are holding your refund until we receive one or more unfiled tax returns. Because we received no reply to our previous notice, we have calculated your tax, penalty and interest based on wages and other income reported to us by employers, financial institutions and others.

Sincerely,
Internal Revenue Service

IRS Phishing Scam




Last updated: January 8, 2016
First published: January 8, 2016
By Brett M. Christensen
About Hoax-Slayer

References
IRS – Report Phishing and Online Scams
IRS Tax Refund Phishing Scam
IRS Refund Scam Email

 

Importance Notice

After considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.

These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.

Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.

And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.

When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.

I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.

A Big Thank You

I would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.

I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.

Closing Date

Hoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.

Thank you, one and all!

Brett Christensen,
Hoax-Slayer