Scammers have come up with a new way to steal personal and financial information from non-resident aliens and international taxpayers. Fraudsters send letters to people asking them to fill out fake alternate Forms W-8BEN, a form usually used by taxpayers who are not U.S. citizens. Taxpayers end up revealing passport numbers, PINs and other info that aid scammers in stealing their identities.
Keep in mind: The IRS doesn’t require taxpayers to recertify their foreign status. Also, the real Form W-8BEN does not ask for passport numbers and PINs. If you believe you received a phony IRS letter, email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “IRS Impersonation Scam.”
If in doubt, always call the IRS before you give out any information to someone. Yes, the hold times can be brutal, but it is worth it to protect your identity. 1-800-829-1040 is a main number for the IRS. Don’t be scammed. The IRS does not ask for this information, does not call you EVER and does not use email. They snail mail. Anything else is probably a scam!