Beware of Tax Scams
Tax season is here, which means fraudsters may be using the season as an opportunity to trick consumers out of their money and personal information.
You should be especially critical of emails or phone calls coming from someone claiming to be an employee of the IRS or state tax authority, especially those that demand immediate payment.
The IRS or State Tax Authority will NEVER:
- Initiate contact with you by phone, email, text, or through social media outlets to ask for your personal or financial information.
- Require that you pay your taxes with a certain payment type, such as a prepaid debit card.
- Call you and demand immediate payment. The IRS or State will not call about taxes you owe without first mailing you a bill.
What do tax scams typically look like?
- A call from a person claiming to be from the IRS demanding immediate payment for your tax bill that has fallen behind
- Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
- They may ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
- Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. Generally, the IRS will first mail you a bill if you owe any taxes.
- Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
How can you protect yourself against tax scams?
- Don’t reply. You do not want to give out your personal or financial information.
- Forward the email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The email may contain a malicious code or virus that will infect your computer so do not click on the any links or open any attachments.
- Always ask for the contact number and call back or check online to verify its legitimacy.
- Contact the IRS or state tax authority to inquire and verify the accuracy of the call.
- Contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. Use TIGTA’s IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting web page to report the incident.
- Report the incident to the Federal Trade Commission through the FTC Complaint Assistant on their website (add "IRS Telephone Scam" to the comments section).
- Visit https://www.irs.gov/uac/taxscams-consumer-alerts for more information on how to detect or report tax scams.