IRS warns compliant foreign banks over tax scammers

Published:  14 Oct at 6 PM
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Tagged: Australia, Banking
Yet another FATCA-related risk for US expats worldwide has been identified via an IRS warning over scammers posing as the regulator in order to obtain access to expat bank accounts.

The IRS fraud alert was sent to banks in all countries which signed up with the US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act after numerous reports of attempts to gain account holder identities and financial information. Fraudsters worldwide, it said, are posing as IRS employees in order to institute phishing scams.

Overseas financial institutions are not required by the tax authority to provide account holder identities or account detail via fax, email or phone, and the IRS will never request account passwords or other confidential data. According to IRS commissioner John Koskinen, US expats with accounts in overseas banks should be very cautious about giving out any sensitive information regarding their banking details or investments.

Kosiken stated that scammers pretending to be IRS officers are working across all five continents, unlimited by national borders. The scams come in all shapes and sizes, are constantly changing and can sound plausible to the unwary.

Generally known as phishing scams and originating on websites or via unsolicited emails, the messages appear to come from legitimate sources and always involve the garnering of financial and personal information. US expats living and banking overseas are advised to visit the URS website for further details on how to identify fraudulent requests, and all overseas banks are requested to report to the IRS should they receive suspicious emails with attachments or links.
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