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IRS Warns Foreign Banks of a New Online Scam Related to FATCA

Accountingweb.com reported on 24th September, 2014 quoting a fraud alert of the tax agency as "Scammers are posing as IRS and are trying to solicit foreign financial organizations for account-holder identity and financial account details under the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA)."

IRS says that these illegal solicitations are called "phishing" scams which are typically carried out using unsolicited emails or phishing emails and/or phishing websites which pose as legitimate contacts to deceptively secure personal or financial information.

FATCA, which was effective from 1st July, 2014, was enacted by the United States to crack down on overseas tax evasion. The law requires foreign financial institutions to inform about accounts held by US taxpayers to IRS, even if the account has only foreign assets.

The IRS does not ask financial institutions for any specific information regarding identity of the account holder or information of financial account over the telephone or fax or through email. Moreover, IRS does not solicit registration passwords of FATCA or similar confidential information to access account.

Jacksoncountydaily.com published a statement on 24th September, 2014 quoting John Koskinen, IRS Commissioner, as saying "tax scams using the IRS name can take many forms and they are not limited by national borders. People should be always careful to send sensitive information to anyone."

The IRS says that it has received reports of such incidents from many countries and continents.

If financial organizations or their representatives suspect that they have become victim of a phishing scam, they should register a case with the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) over its helpline number 800-366-4484 or through secure website of TIGTA. IRS advised not to open any attachments or links contained in any suspicious emails and should forward the email to phishing@irs.gov immediately without any delay so that proper investigation can be done.

Meanwhile, security experts analyzing the ongoing scams stressed that it is due to scam emails of the above type that has led to a surge in phishing over the Internet and particularly over US, making it the most phished country across the globe.

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