It’s tax season again. While U.S. workers are preparing to submit their annual tax forms, scammers are busy, too.
Your best weapon to combat tax scams is your own common sense. If you are in doubt, contact the IRS or your state taxing authority to confirm.
Use caution on the phone
The IRS doesn't initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages, or social media channels to request personal or financial information. Their first contact will always be via a letter. Don’t give any information to anyone contacting you via these other methods and certainly don’t send them any money.
File early so hackers will have a more difficult time filing a phony tax return and claiming a refund in your name.
Beware of phishing
Phishing is a scam where a thief pretends to be a legitimate company and tries to collect your personal information, usually through email. Be careful about sharing any personal information with someone who contacts you via email. Always take steps to verify identity before communicating with someone via email.
Protect your computer
Make sure your computer is protected by anti-virus software to make it tougher for hackers to access your personal information.
Be wary of phony charities
A growing number of tax scams are related to phony organizations soliciting help for victims of hurricanes and natural disasters.
Reporting Tax Scams
If you become aware of any abusive tax scams, please report them to the appropriate contact below.
- Report all unsolicited email claiming to be from the IRS to firstname.lastname@example.org. Report any monetary losses due to an IRS-related scam to the Treasury Inspector General Administration. In addition, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission’s Complaint Assistant to make the information available to investigators.
- If you suspect an individual or tax preparer isn’t following IRS guidelines, you can report them through the IRS website.
- Visit Identity Theft Central if you think someone stole your identity and used your Social Security number for employment or could use it to file a tax return.