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17 July 2018

New Fake IRS Form Scams International Taxpayers

New Fake IRS Form Scams International Taxpayers

The IRS recently issued a warning about a new scam aimed at international taxpayers and non-resident aliens. If you’re an international taxpayer, be on the lookout for fake IRS Form W-8BENs soliciting detailed personal identification and bank account information.

According to the IRS, criminals will mail or fax a letter indicating that although individuals are exempt from withholding and reporting income tax, they need to authenticate their information by filling out a phony version of Form W-8BEN, Certificate of Foreign Status of Beneficial Owner for United States Tax Withholding and Reporting. Recipients are requested to fax the information back.

Here are some indications you can use to spot a fraudulent request:

  • The IRS will not request this form. It’s generally provided by foreign individuals to their qualified withholding agents or financial institutions, not directly to the federal government.
  • Versions of the fake form will ask for personal details such as mother’s maiden name, passport numbers and PIN codes, which a legitimate IRS Form W-8BEN does not include.
  • The phony letter or fax often refers to a Form W9095, which does not exist.

If you’re surprised with a request to fill out an IRS Form W-8BEN, the IRS recommends not responding directly. Instead, contact your withholding agent or financial institution yourself to verify the request. If you believe the request to be fraudulent, help the IRS record the attempt by reporting it to the IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting site and by emailing phishing@irs.gov with the subject line “IRS Impersonation Scam.”

Image Copyright: artursz / 123RF Stock Photo

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