Each year the IRS publishes a list of the "Dirty Dozen," 12 of the most blatant tax scams affecting American taxpayers. Acting IRS Commissioner Kevin Brown released the Dirty Dozen for fiscal year 2008. Those scams of interest to church leaders include the following:
- Phishing. This technique is used by identity thieves to acquire personal financial data in order to gain access to the financial accounts of unsuspecting consumers, run up charges on their credit cards or apply for loans in their names. These Internet-based criminals pose as representatives of a financial institution--or sometimes the IRS itself--and send out fictitious e-mail correspondence in an attempt to trick consumers into disclosing private information. A typical e-mail notifies a taxpayer of an outstanding refund and urges the taxpayer to click on a hyperlink and visit an official-looking website. The website then solicits a Social Security and credit card number. It is important to note the IRS does not use e-mail to initiate contact with taxpayers about issues related to their accounts.