Tax scams are increasing at an alarming rate in the USA this year, according to recent announcements from the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation), the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) and the FTC (Federal Trade Commission). Many of these tax scams involve fraud websites, which are designed to trick users into thinking that they’re filling out forms and paying overdue taxes, fees and penalties online. A lot of victims have lost considerable sums of money because of these tax scams, while others have been victimized by identity theft and credit card fraud, which they learned a few weeks after using their credit cards to pay these fake fees on the Web.
A lot of victims also recently posted scam complaints in the user-generated repository of BigScammers.Com. This is a publicly accessible database that can help you learn about the newest tactics and schemes that are currently being used by scammers and organized crime groups for carrying out the latest variants of their online scams. Most of them claim that they were taken to fraud websites through links that were mentioned in emails and automated phone calls laced with scare rhetoric and fake urgency claims.
- New Tax Scams & Fraud Websites
A lot of victims claim that the fraud websites used for these newest forms of tax scams were designed to look exactly like the official websites of their local government. They also said that they received these messages and automated phone calls from spoofed email addresses and phone numbers, which they learned later on after they reviewed their email and phone call logs.
They also confirmed later on that these were indeed fraud websites because it used domains that can be easily mistaken for the official domains of their local government’s websites. However, these fake sites have long been taken down when they realized this, though chances are – The same fraudsters and organized crime groups have already set up new rogue websites for carrying out their tax scams.
- How to Tell Between Official Sites & Fraud Websites
First, you should use whois tools on the Internet to run the domains of any suspicious website that you encounter during your day-to-day activities on the Web, especially if you were scared or forced into going to those sites. This will allow you to know the details of the domain registrant, and this information is verified by almost all domain registrars. This can help you differentiate between fraud websites and legitimate ones.
Second, keep in mind that most scammers and organized crime groups that use fraud websites also register domains with names that can be easily mistaken for the official domain names of popular organizations and companies. In the case of tax scams, fraudsters might use not just domains that look similar to the domains of related government sites, but also to the domains of reputable local tax firms and the like.
Third, most fraud websites are promoted through links that are placed in suspicious messages from unknown senders. It’s in your best interest to never open suspicious messages from complete strangers or companies that you haven’t contacted in the first place. Also check the email addresses, phone numbers and messaging accounts that were used to send out those messages. Take note of spoofed addresses, accounts and phone numbers, which are designed to be easily mistaken for the official versions of those contact details.