First and foremost, let me start by stating the IRS would NEVER e-mail you personally.
If you find an e-mail in your in-box that claims to be from the IRS, delete it! The IRS receives thousands of reports each year from taxpayers who receive these types of e-mails, telephone calls, and/or faxes. Read more about it here.
What will these e-mails (phone calls and faxes) say?
The e-mail usually states something is wrong with the your tax return and more information is needed in order for the return to be completed. The e-mail may be from firstname.lastname@example.org, but there is no such email address registered with the Internal Revenue Service.
Another e-mail may claim the IRS has unclaimed funds for you from past returns or from this year’s return. It will ask for you to complete a form in order to release the funds. DO NOT complete the form.
In fact, do not click on any links or attachments in the e-mail. There could be viruses attached to the e-mail, or malware or spyware that could take your information without you knowing.
Why would someone claim to be the IRS?
That’s simple: to gather financial and personal information in order to steal a person’s identity. These “phishing” scams are becoming increasingly common and harder to spot. The scammers will use logos, seals and other IRS labels to prove its authenticity but don’t be fooled, the IRS does NOT initiate communication with taxpayers through email.
For those who receive a suspicious e-mail, phone call, or fax from someone claiming to be the IRS, call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 before responding to the correspondence.