Don’t be another victim.
Thousands of people have lost millions of dollars and their personal information to fake IRS communication scams, according to the IRS. Here are important reminders from the IRS about tax fraud.
Two most important things to know about the IRS.
- The IRS DOES NOT initiate contact by email, text messages or social media with taxpayers to request personal or financial information.
- The IRS does not threaten taxpayers with lawsuits, imprisonment or other enforcement action. The IRS also cannot revoke your driver’s license, business licenses or immigration status. Threats like these are common tactics scam artists use to trick victims into buying into their schemes.
Telltale signs of tax fraud.
IRS-impersonation telephone scams
You are told you owe money to the IRS and it must be paid promptly through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. Victims may be threatened with arrest, deportation or suspension of a business or driver’s license. You may also be told you have a refund owed to you and the caller needs personal information in order to process the refund. If you don’t answer the phone, they may leave an urgent callback message.
Scams targeting tax professionals: The objective is to steal their clients’ data so they can file fraudulent tax returns that better impersonate their victims.
Email, phishing and malware schemes
You receive an official-looking email from the IRS or others in the tax industry, including tax software companies. Their name and logo appear on it. These phishing schemes may seek information related to refunds, filing status, confirming personal information, ordering transcripts and verifying PIN information.
Be alert to bogus emails that appear to come from your tax professional, requesting information for an IRS form. The IRS doesn’t initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or social media channels to request personal or financial information, nor do they require life insurance and annuity updates from taxpayers or a tax professional.
Taxpayer Advocacy Panel scams
Some taxpayers may receive emails that appear to be from the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel (TAP) about a tax refund. These emails are a phishing scam, where unsolicited emails try to trick victims into providing personal and financial information. Do not respond or click any link.
What to do?
The IRS will only deal with you on these related issues via US mail.
If you get a call, hang-up and contact the IRS directly.
- Never respond to an email or fax.
- Never call the number listed in the email or provided to you by phone.
- Go directly to the IRS website at www.IRS.gov for assistance.
- Read up on IRS Tax Scams Consumer Alerts.