Tax season is peak time for scammers. Don't be one of the thousands scammed out of money and their personal information. Here are five ways to spot a potential IRS scam:
- "We're calling from the IRS."— It may sound silly, but there's a good chance this is a scam. The IRS will not initiate communication via phone call, text, email, or social media. The IRS will send several letters, or notices, through the United States Postal Services as the first form of communication. When in doubt, hang up.
- "Make a payment with a gift card or prepaid card."– The IRS will never ask you to make a payment this way. Scammers use this method because the payment will not be able to be tracked, and once the money is transferred, it's gone. If you owe the IRS or think you do, you can view your information at IRS.gov or contact them directly by calling 800.829.1040.
- "Pay us now or be arrested." – Scammers use fear to get information and money. Know your rights! Under the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, all taxpayers are given ample time to contest or appeal. Some common fear tactics to look out for are threatening people with jail time, deportation, or revoking their driver's license. The IRS has no authority over your driver's license or immigration status.
- "We're calling from the Bureau of Tax Enforcement." – Hang up! The Bureau of Tax Enforcement doesn't exist.
- "We've recalculated your return." – This scam is generally sent by text or email. The scammer wants you to click the link in the message and fill out a form including your social security number, birth date, driver's license, and more. Never click a link or give information to someone unless you are sure who the sender is.
If you have experienced any of these scams or think you have, protect yourself and others by reporting them.
- Impersonation Scams: Call 800.366.4484 or visit the IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting webpage to report to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.
- Phone Scams: Report phone scams to the Federal Trade Commission using the FTC Complaint Assistant. Add "IRS Telephone Scam" in the notes.
- Unsolicited emails: Forward unsolicited emails that claim to be from the IRS to email@example.com.
- Fraud: Report Fraud FTC.
- Social Security Scams: Use the form on the Social Security Administration's website.
Read more about known scams and how to report them directly from the IRS at irs.gov. They keep an updated list to help keep you informed.