More Tax Related E-mail Scams in 2016

Here we are on January 15, 2016 (as I write this post) and already have received 2 new types of e-mail scams regarding your taxes.  I tend to get a number of them every year with my business and after reporting them to the IRS (if you don’t know how, follow this link), I try to publish the info on my Facebook and Linked In pages as well as here to let everyone know.  This post will be updated as we go through 2016 with any additional scams that I personally receive or I get copies of from friends or clients.

Back on January 10th, an email from “Turbotax(dot)services(at)myturbotax(dot)inuit(dot)com” that was sent to recipients, instead of my email and the header was “Your TurboTax Identity Verification”.  Please note I don’t use Turbo Tax (copyright of the Intuit Corporation) so I wouldn’t be getting an email from them about my Turbo Tax Identity…  Anyway, the email wanted me to ‘download the attached form and follow the instructions on your sreen’ (sic).  Normally these downloads are infected with Malware and/or the ask you to fill out a form that contains all your personal info so it’s a treasure trove for identity theft…7K0A0021

The next e-mail arrived last evening (Jan 14 2016) from ‘epayment(dot)ealert(at)mail(dot)com with the subject of “YOUR TAX EXEMPTION NOTIFICATION” (their caps).  The email showed on my email program as being from IRS Tax Revenue.  The e-mail (copied below) read:

Our records indicate that your resident address has been compromised.

As a result you are exempted from United States of America Tax reporting and withholdings on interest paid to you on your account and other financial benefits.

To protect yourgeneral-icons-23 exemption from tax on your account and other financial benefits, you need to recertify your exemption status and enable us confirm your records with us.

Therefore, you are to authenticate the following by completing the attachment IRS Tax Refund Form.

Please complete IRS Tax Refund Form (attached) and click the Submit Botton, to enable us confirm your records immediately.

If your records are not confirmed on time, you will lose your tax exempt benefits and your account or any other financial benefits will be subject to US tax reporting and back up withholding*

*If back up withholding applies, we are required to withhold 30% of the interest/benefits paid to you.

We appreciate your cooperation in helping us protect your exempt status and also confirm our records.


Isabella Charlotte,

IRS Public Relations


How interesting a person from IRS Public Relations thinks I may be tax exempt because my resident address has been compromised?!!  Plus she wants me to confirm it?

Obviously another scam…  I certainly didn’t download the ‘2015 IRS Tax Refund form’ (another irony – I’ve not even filed my 2015 taxes yet!).

Be sure to read any emails carefully but don’t click on any links or attachments.  You can forward emails to ‘’ and include the whole email so they get to see the headers, date/time, etc.

Anyone receive different scams?  Would love to hear from you – please fill out the contact form below.


Thomas C. Hodge, CPA

The Hodge Group
4118 N. Western Avenue
Chicago, IL 60618

773.237.6369 – Property Tax Bill Appeals for Cook County IL

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Tax Scam mastermind heads to prison

A recent article in the Chicago Sun-Times (original article can be found at this link) noted that an accountant helped to file fraudulent tax returns (perhaps 99% of the returns he completed!) and illegally saved at least $3.5 million in taxes for his clients, in addition to cheating on over $200,000  on his own tax returns.

He named his firm ‘Richman Tax Solutions’ and will likely face deportation once he completes his prison sentence – he emigrated from the Philippines many years ago.

The real kicker?  His name is Ray Dumdum (no lie).

As usual, if you hear about a ‘too good to be true’ tax plan, it probably is a scam so beware!


Thomas C. Hodge, CPA

The Hodge Group
3040 N. Menard Avenue
Chicago, IL 60634


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Individual Tax ID numbers will be harder to get

When a person doesn’t have a Social Security Number (SSN) or aren’t eligible for one, they can apply to the IRS to get a ‘Temporary Individual ID Number’ so they can file tax returns, make payments, obtain refunds, etc. These ID numbers are usually issued temporarily for people who have work visas, scholarships, temporary/seasonal jobs, etc. and who are not citizens or naturalized aliens.  However, obtaining these temporary tax ID numbers will be more difficult moving forward.

The IRS is reporting that ‘a significant number’ of fraudulent tax returns claiming refunds have been filed using temporary ID numbers. Starting soon, in order to get a temporary ID number, applicants will now need to send original copies of passports or birth certificates, or copies certified by the agency that issued the document – notarized copies are no longer allowed as had been in the past.  The IRS is hoping this will cut down on fraud.

As a notary, I’ve never been asked to ‘certify this birth certificate is real’ or anything like that and not even sure how I would know so I’m glad this is being taken out of our hands.  As a tax return preparer, I’ve run into situations where people are trying to claim all sorts of things and it is my job to put them on the right track & make sure they file an accurate return.  Knowing that the IRS will only issue temporary ID numbers after receiving original paperwork or certified copies should cut down on tax fraud and make tax return preparation a bit easier…

I welcome your comments & questions.


Tom Hodge, President

The Hodge Group

Church members being targeted by IRS Scam

The IRS is warning church groups, civic groups and their members about a scam where individuals appear at churches and/or civil groups and get unsuspecting people to file for bogus refunds.  Mostly, the scam zeros in on refunds of Social Security taxes paid in over time, trying to transfer those taxes to the IRS and then filing for a credit. People then pay the scammers for their ‘services’.  The paperwork that is filled out is given back to the taxpayer, who sends it to the IRS and then it is rejected.  By now, the scammers have disappeared.

Identity theft could be another issue, although not widely reported yet.  If the scammers keep a copy of the paperwork (as a paid preparer is supposed to do), then identity theft could be a concern.

IRS Spokesman David Stell said, “The unique aspect of this scam is that they’re going to churches and civic groups to offer ‘something for nothing.’ Unfortunately they are very good at what they do and they’re very good at making people believe that there are credits or refunds available when there are not.”

The IRS urges taxpayers to look out for the following:

  • Claims for rebates or refunds based on excess Social Security benefits. These are almost always fictitious.
  • A claim that the IRS can be a conduit for Social Security Benefits – it cannot!
  • Churches or civic groups being asked to team up with unfamiliar tax advice groups or tax preparation services.
  • Homemade flyers or promotional products that talk about tax refunds or credits being available without proof of eligibility.
  • Groups offering tax preparation with no documentation required.  This could be “No Document Tax Returns” or promises of refunds without presenting any documentation.
  • Tax Preparers pushing you to take advantage as they will ‘only be available today’.

In addition, the scammers might discuss two recently expired tax credits called the Economic Recovery Credit Program and the Recovery Rebate Credit.  Watch out for these words!  Anyone promoting these credits is suspect.

My advice is to alert your church or civic group and to keep your eyes open.  If your church or civic group has a day like this, have it video taped so people’s faces can be sent to the IRS and/or FBI.  Also, always ask the ‘tax preparer’ about their background, how long they’ve been doing taxes, where they passed the CPA exam (it is given on a state basis so the person should respond “Ohio’ instead of ‘Cleveland’).

When in doubt, take a business card (assuming they have any) and say you’ll get back to them.

If you have any thoughts or questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Hope you all enjoyed your Labor Day!


Tom Hodge