If news about A.I. has been all over your LinkedIn timeline lately, you aren’t alone. With its new accessibility through tools like ChatGPT, artificial intelligence has become all the rage for businesses. It’s been heavily discussed for both its potential benefits and downsides, including its potential to engineer major medical breakthroughs and displace many job titles. A potential downfall that has been brought to light recently is its ability to make tax scams even more insidious and far-reaching.
If you are technologically savvy, when you receive a scammy email you can typically tell that something is amiss. This is usually because of spelling errors, strange syntax, or general aggressiveness that is atypical of organizations like the IRS. Much of the tax fraud taking place in the US is perpetrated by non-native English speakers who are usually abroad which correlates to the frequency of these errors. Even with these red flags, and the IRS continually releasing content around the ‘Dirty Dozen’ tax scams to look out for, many people still fall for these scams each and every year, including vulnerable elderly people and young people filing for the first time.
Technology has aided greatly in making certain scams like phishing (emails from people falsely claiming to be from the IRS) and third-party data extraction even more sophisticated and hard to spot. ChatGPT is the next tool that scammers can use to remove some of these errors that sound the alarm for taxpayers receiving their communications. With the use of an A.I. copywriting tool, scammers are able to craft much more legitimate-sounding messages that echo the tone and grammar of a real IRS notice. It is important to always do your homework regarding the notices you receive from the IRS and double-check their legitimacy.
As per the official IRS website, “the IRS initiates most contacts through regular mail and will never initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text or social media regarding a bill or tax refund.” It is also possible to receive false communications from scammers posing as tax preparation software companies like TurboTax or H&R Block in order to receive your personal information. ChatGPT can also be used to create realistic-sounding scripts for IRS phone call scams so don’t be afraid to ask for pertinent information on the phone with an “IRS agent.”
We’re entering a new era of civilization with the advent of A.I. and that includes the unfortunate scams that befall many hard-working citizens. With these technology tools, we’ll no doubt see an increase in the frequency and scale of these tax scams. Working with a tax preparation firm that is well-versed on potential dangers to look out for and utilizing secure technology can offer peace of mind and an extra layer of security. At ClarkSilva, we are always ready to answer any questions you have regarding your tax preparation. Reach out to a team member today!