WASHINGTON (9/25/14)--A fraud alert has been issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regarding international financial institutions that comply with the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). According to the alert, scam artists posing as the IRS have fraudulently solicited financial institutions for account holder activity and account information.
Both financial institutions directly registered for FATCA compliance and those in jurisdictions treated as having intergovernmental agreements in effect to implement FATCA have been approached by the scammers. The reports come from multiple countries across a number of continents.
"The scammers are taking advantage of the opportunity to contact foreign financial institutions as they are scrambling to get up to speed with the new requirements," said Colleen Kelly, senior assistant general counsel for federal compliance at the Credit Union National Association. "Reporting to the U.S. government is new and foreign financial institutions will have a more difficult time spotting a scam until they have more experience with the new FATCA regulations."
According to the IRS, it "does not require financial institutions to provide specific account holder identity information or financial account information over the phone or by fax or email. Further, the IRS does not solicit FATCA registration passwords or similar confidential account access information."
The IRS has defined the fraudulent solicitations as the well-known "phishing" scams that use unsolicited e-mails and websites disguised as legitimate to deceptively obtain information.
These fraudulent solicitations are known as "phishing" scams.They are typically carried out through unsolicited e-mails and/or websites that pose as legitimate contacts in order to deceptively obtain personal or financial information.
Financial institutions or their representatives who suspect they are the subject of a phishing scam can report the matter to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA).
Use the resource links to access the TIGTA homepage and the IRS phishing scam resource center.