Foreign Financial Institutions (FFIs) who are following the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) should beware of scammer who are posing as the IRS employee have fraudulently solicited financial institutions seeking account holder identity and financial account information.
These fraudulent solicitations are known as “phishing” scams. These types of scams are typically carried out through the use of unsolicited emails and/or websites that pose as legitimate contacts in order to deceptively obtain personal or financial information.
What is FATCA
FATCA or The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act was enacted in march 2010 by Congress that requires United States persons, including individuals who live outside the United States, to report their financial accounts held outside of the United States, and requires foreign financial institutions (FFIs) to report to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) information about financial accounts held by U.S. taxpayers, or by foreign entities in which U.S. taxpayers hold a substantial ownership interest. Congress enacted FATCA to make it more difficult for U.S. taxpayers to conceal assets held in offshore accounts and shell corporations, and thus to recoup federal tax revenues. The FATCA is a portion of the 2010 Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment (HIRE) Act.
How the scam work?
Scam artists posing as the IRS have fraudulently solicited financial institutions seeking account holder identity and financial account information. Financial institutions directly registered to comply with FATCA and those in jurisdictions that are treated as having in effect intergovernmental agreements (IGAs) to implement FATCA through intergovernmental cooperation have been approached by persons representing themselves as the IRS. The IRS has reports of incidents from multiple countries and continents.
How to Protect Yourself?
Tips by The Internal Revenue Service, Financial institutions or their representatives that suspect they are the subject of a “phishing” scam should report the matter to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) at 800-366-4484, or through TIGTA’s secure website. Any suspicious emails that contain attachments or links in the message should not be opened, and the email should be forwarded to phishing[at]irs.gov.
The IRS 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