How to identify AI-assisted tax scams and the warning signs to look out for: 7 On Your Side

Nina Pineda Image
Friday, March 15, 2024
Avoiding tax scams and looking out for warning signs
Nina Pineda has tips on how to avoid tax scams and what to look out for.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Tax scams. They can happen without a person even realizing it's happening, and thanks to AI, it's getting even harder to detect.

There used to be dead giveaways. Computer-generated voices sounded fake, the caller had an accent or the writer had bad grammar.

Now, you can throw all that out the window, because the AI sounds just like the guy or girl next door.

Voice clones are that good, they are relentless and persistent, and right now, they are offering tax help, tax forgiveness or even posing as the IRS.

7 On Your Side spoke with a chief technology expert to help people identify the scam.

"It's actually somebody working for a cyber-criminal network that has cloned a voice that as an American accent," said McAfee's Steve Grobman. "You know, no red flags that would possibly lead somebody to believe that it's a scam."

Grobman says AI voice cloning hit an all-time high last month, with the intensity spiking due to tax season and the rise of deep fake artificial intelligence.

"In the month of February alone, McAfee is already seeing over a million URLs that customers have attempted to click on," Grobman said.

So what can stop it?

Anti-virus software and call-blocking apps can help people filter out bad actors, but those actors also phish people through texts, emails and calls, offering help with taxes or even threaten people about back taxes in an attempt to steal personal information and collect some cash.

In just one message, which came from dozens of different numbers, it says, "We see you owe back taxes."

"How would this particular person or organization know about any of this, your tax information is highly sensitive," Grobman said.

Then there's a promise of a zero-tax program to make what people owe uncollectible. That's unrealistic. Taxes like death, are two certainties of life.

"these scams are rampant, there's lots of different flavors of them, and we want to make sure that all of you are holding on to your personal information and your money," Grobman said.

Some takeaways: beware of anyone who contacts you and wants money and a call back, any messages that sends a link to click, or messages that hit you up with a sense of urgency.

The IRS doesn't threaten and also doesn't call, text or email.

You will always get a letter in the mail first and you'll never be asked to pay back taxes with a gift card, Apple Pay, Crypto, Bitcoin, Venmo or Zelle.

Delete, hang up and block!



Do you have an issue with a company that you haven't been able to resolve? If so, 7 On Your Side wants to help you!

Fill out the form below or email your questions, issues, or story ideas by filling out the form below or by emailing All emails MUST INCLUDE YOUR NAME AND CELLPHONE NUMBER. Without a phone number, 7 On Your Side will not be able to respond.