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Identifying IRS Scams

August 26, 2014

Tax scammers tend to be more active during tax season. Identity theft is popular among fraudsters and attempts only increase during tax time. With the deadline for extensions closing in, taxpayers may face increased activity from scammers. It’s important that people be more vigilant than ever in keeping their tax information safe.

To stay protected while filing taxes, keep these tips in mind:

  • Never share your tax information on unverified websites or web pages.
  • Never reply to unsolicited emails that say that they are from the IRS or a reputable bank.
  • Do not share your financial or tax information with a caller who claims to be from the IRS. It might be an attempted IRS phone scam.
  • When disposing of your financial or tax documents, you should shred them properly. Scammers are known to steal information from records found in the trash.

Scammers may use the name of a reputable bank, the IRS, the FTC, etc. to gain a taxpayer’s trust. Therefore, even if you receive a communication from a person who claims to be from a trusted institution, make sure that you verify their credentials before sharing information.

Before you file your tax return, be sure not to give away any tax or financial information, especially your Social Security Number (SSN), name, or filing status through any unsolicited communication.

It’s also a good idea to stay alert for phishing attempts where scammers send bogus emails with links to web pages that are made to look like the official IRS web page. These pages are designed to extract sensitive information that can be used to file fraudulent tax returns. If you experience a phishing attempt, you may report it to the IRS at phishing@irs.gov.


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