Beware of Common IRS Scams

As the world has become more technologically advanced, the tactics which scammers and fraudsters use against ordinary folk, have become more cunning. Fraudsters have been increasingly targeting US taxpayers in recent times. There are a variety of common scams and ways of being knowledgeable to mitigate the risks of falling victim to a scammer.

The common types of IRS scams:

  • Phishing — Phishing is when you receive an email from what appears to be the IRS. The subject line will most likely be your first clue that the email is a scam. It will probably say some combination of the words like “IRS,” “Notice,” “Refund,” and “Important.” The email probably contains links to websites or attachments. Do not click on these links. Do not open any attachments. They could contain malicious software or code designed to hijack your computer. Do not reply to the email! The IRS does not initiate contact with a taxpayer by email, text message or social media channels to request personal or financial information. The IRS will send you a letter if it wants to get your attention.
  • Phone scams — Most telephone scams come from individuals pretending to be an IRS agent to gain sensitive information such as SSN or bank details. If you receive a telephone call from someone claiming to be with the IRS, and you owe (or suspect you may owe) tax, do not give out any information. Hang up and call the IRS back on a verified telephone number to find out more information.
  • Fraudulent filing — This occurs when SSN of an individual is used to file a return claiming a refund and the refund is sent to the fraudster. An individual’s SSN can be obtained by the phishing or phone scams.

General rules to be aware of:

  • Any correspondence from the IRS is usually by mail, which is delivered by postal services.
  • The IRS does not ask for any payment information over the telephone.
  • If payment methods such as gift card, cryptocurrency and prepaid debit card are demanded, it should be a clear red flag that it is a scam.
  • The IRS cannot demand payment without giving you the chance to question the amount owed.

To report any scams that you have been targeted by, please use the IRS reporting page, by following the link.