Every tax season we see more and more schemes that target innocent taxpayers by email, by phone and online. Watch out for these deceptive scams so you don't become a victim.
Some of the most common IRS impersonation scams include:
Demanding fake tax payments: Sometimes these are automated calls where scammers leave urgent requests telling people to call back to settle their “tax bill.” These fake calls usually claim to be the last warning before legal action is taken. You may also receive live calls from IRS impersonators. They might demand payments on prepaid debit cards, iTunes and other gift cards or wire transfer. Any request to settle a tax bill using any of these payment methods is a clear indication of a scam.
Calling students and parents and demanding payment for a fake tax: Ever heard of the "Federal Student Tax"? No? That's because it doesn't exist. Telephone scammers are targeting students and parents demanding payments for fictitious taxes, such as the “Federal Student Tax.” If the person does not comply, the scammer gets aggressive and threatens to have the student arrested.
A fake IRS bill for tax year 2015 related to the Affordable Care Act: The fraudulent notice includes a payment request that taxpayers mail a check made out to “I.R.S.” to the “Austin Processing Center” at a PO Box address.
“Verifying” tax return information over the phone: Scam artists call saying they have your tax return, and they just need to verify a few details to process your return. The scammer tries to get you to give up personal information such as your social security number.
Pretending to be from the tax prep industry: These emails are designed to trick people into thinking they are official messages from the IRS or others in the tax industry, including tax software companies. The phishing schemes can ask taxpayers about a wide range of topics. E-mails or text messages might seek information related to refunds, filing status, confirming personal information, ordering transcripts or verifying PIN information.
If you receive an unexpected call, unsolicited email, letter or text message from someone claiming to be from the IRS, here are some of the tell-tale signs to help protect yourself.
The IRS Will Never:
If you get a suspicious phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS and asking for money, here’s what you should do:
If you receive an unsolicited email that appears to be from the IRS report it by sending it to firstname.lastname@example.org.