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Be Wary of Tax Return Scams

February 25, 2015

As we all know, unfortunately there are some not-so-nice people out there. Tax season seems to be a time they come out. Looking to steal money or account information, please be wary of scams. Trust your gut if something doesn’t seem right.
Here are some tips to help protect yourself from tax fraud:

During a tax scam, usually an individual calls on the phone or sends an email presenting themselves as an employee of the IRS or your state’s tax authority, under the guise of wanting to “help” with your tax filing. Usually this type of tax scam involves an unsolicited, bogus email regarding your tax refund or bill, or threatens an audit if you do not pay. These tax fraud emails also typically include the tax service’s name and official seal, and often link to a phony website in order to appear to be more official.

Please be wary of ANY emails or phone calls you receive from someone claiming to be an employee of the IRS or State, especially those that demand you pay immediately.

The Internal Revenue Service and your state’s 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.)

If you receive an email about your federal or state taxes:

  • Don’t reply to the message.
  • Don’t give out your personal or financial information.
  • Forward the email to phishing@irs.gov and then delete the email.
  • Don’t open any attachments or click on any links, as they may contain a malicious code or virus that will infect your computer.
  • Check the website of your state’s tax return office to see how they recommend you report an attempted scam involving your state tax filing.

If you receive a call about your federal or state taxes:

  • Ask for a contact number and an employee badge number and then call back to verify its legitimacy
  • Call the IRS or the office of your state’s tax authority to inquire further.
  • 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 of your report).

For more in depth information on how to detect or report tax scams, visit http://www.irs.gov/uac/Report-Phishing.

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