Tax Schemes

cell phone with SCAM IRS calling on front screen

With tax time around the corner, we may see an increase in phone calls, emails and even text messages from people claiming to represent the IRS. Some of these scammers will attempt to lure you in with the promise of a large tax refund or tell you that you have qualified for a government grant. Others will call alleging you owe back taxes and threaten legal action, including jail time, if you do not make a payment immediately.

While these calls may sound enticing or even intimidating, it is important to remember a few key tips to ensure you do not compromise your personal or financial information:

  • If someone is calling with an offer for free money or something else that sounds too good to be true, chances are it is too good to be true.
  • When in doubt about the legitimacy of a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, a bank, or similar, hang up and look up the company’s website. There should be a phone number on their website that you can use to call and verify the request.
  • While lots of fraudsters call to initiate a scam, don’t let your guard down with suspicious emails and text messages. Never click on a link in an email or text message from someone you do not know.

Tips to safeguard against tax scams:

  • The IRS always initiates contact about any tax issues with a letter on official IRS letterhead. They will never contact you by phone, text, email or social media.
  • Don’t give your personal information to anyone contacting you via phone calls, texts, email or social media.
  • You can verify the legitimacy of any communication you receive using the published IRS phone number: 1-800-829-1040.

If you’re targeted by a scammer.

Visit the IRS for instructions on reporting tax scam attempts, and report fraud to the Federal Trade Commission or by calling 877-FTC-HELP.

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