A First Foundation Blog

Protecting Taxpayers: IRS Kicks Off Annual Campaign with Warning About Phishing and Smishing Scams

| 4/12/24 9:38 AM
3 minute read 

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has launched its annual "Dirty Dozen" list with a caution for taxpayers to stay alert to evolving phishing and smishing (SMS phishing) scams aimed at obtaining sensitive taxpayer information. Given the increasing frequency of email and text scams targeting individuals and businesses, the IRS has emphasized the importance of remaining vigilant against these deceptive tactics. These fraudulent activities often involve attempts to lure recipients into clicking on malicious links, disclosing personal and financial information, or downloading harmful files onto their devices.

  • Phishing: An email sent by fraudsters claiming to come from the IRS. The email lures the victims into the scam with a variety of ruses such as enticing victims with a phony tax refund or threatening them with false legal or criminal charges for tax fraud.
  • Smishing: A text or smartphone SMS message where scammers often use alarming language such as, "Your account has now been put on hold," or "Unusual Activity Report," with a bogus "Solutions" link to restore the recipient's account. Unexpected tax refunds are another potential lure for scam artists.

Scammers relentlessly attempt to obtain sensitive financial and personal information, with impersonating the IRS being a favored tactic. First Foundation clients are advised to exercise caution when receiving unsolicited messages and refrain from clicking on any links in suspicious emails or texts if uncertain about their legitimacy.

The annual "Dirty Dozen" campaign was initiated by the IRS in 2022 and serves as an educational initiative to highlight the most prevalent tax scams, schemes, and fraudulent activities that taxpayers may encounter. It serves as a comprehensive guide to understanding the tactics employed by scammers and provides essential tips on how to avoid falling victim to these schemes.

Here are a few compelling reasons why First Foundation clients should make it a priority to read the IRS' "Dirty Dozen" campaign:

  1. Protect Yourself Against Scams – Scammers are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their attempts to defraud taxpayers. By familiarizing yourself with the schemes outlined in the "Dirty Dozen," you can recognize red flags and protect yourself against fraudulent activities such as phishing scams, identity theft, and fake charity schemes.
  2. Stay Up-to-Date on Emerging Trends – Tax scams are constantly evolving, with scammers adapting their tactics to exploit new vulnerabilities. The "Dirty Dozen" campaign is updated annually to reflect the latest trends in fraudulent activities. By staying informed, you can stay one step ahead of scammers and protect your financial interests.
  3. Empower Yourself with Knowledge – Knowledge is power when it comes to navigating the complex world of taxes. By arming yourself with the information provided in the "Dirty Dozen" campaign, you can make informed decisions about your tax affairs and avoid being taken advantage of by unscrupulous individuals.

Take a few moments to read the IRS' annual "Dirty Dozen" campaign. It is essential for anyone who wants to safeguard their financial well-being and avoid falling victim to cybercrime and tax scams. By staying informed, you can protect yourself against fraud, avoid costly mistakes, and empower yourself with the knowledge needed to stay safe online. 

For more information, visit the Internal Revenue Service Newsroom at 

Disclaimer: This blog post does not provide legal or professional advice. Always consult with trusted sources for specific guidance on protecting yourself from scams. 

Security Management Team
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Security Management Team