WASHINGTON — Tax season is also busy season for savvy criminals. Scammers impersonating the IRS either over-the-phone, by email or in-person can steal money from people. All taxpayers should stay vigilant against these schemes.
Here are some tips to help people recognize and avoid tax-related scams.
Email phishing scams
The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information. Generally, the IRS first mails a paper bill to a person who owes taxes. In some special situations, the IRS will call or come to a home or business.
Taxpayers should report IRS, Treasury or tax-related suspicious online or email phishing scams to firstname.lastname@example.org. They should not open any attachments, click on any links, reply to the sender, or take any other actions that could put them at risk.
The IRS generally first mails a bill to a taxpayer who owes taxes. There are specific ways to pay taxes. The agency and its authorized private collection agencies will not:
Criminals can fake or spoof caller ID numbers to appear to be anywhere in the country. Scammers can even spoof an IRS office phone number or the numbers of various local, state, federal or tribal government agencies.
If a taxpayer receives an IRS or Treasury-related phone call, but doesn’t owe taxes and has no reason to think they do, they should:
If a taxpayer wants to verify what taxes they owe the IRS, they should:
• View tax account information online at IRS.gov.
• Review their payment options.