Every year, taxpayers have to deal with the stress of filing their taxes as well as avoiding scammers getting their sensitive tax information. If you receive correspondence about your taxes and are unsure if it’s a scam, it’s important to know that the IRS will typically contact you by ground mail to notify a taxpayer if a tax balance is owed or if the IRS has additional questions.
Optima Tax Relief takes a look at how taxpayers can spot tax scams and avoid becoming a victim.
Email Phishing Scams
The IRS will never initiate contact with a taxpayer through email to request tax sensitive or financial information. If you receive a suspicious email claiming to be from the IRS, you should report it right away to the IRS. You can notify the IRS of a scam by emailing them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Email phishing scams typically contain malicious language in order to solicit personal information by posing as a recognizable and trustworthy organization. Taxpayers are advised to not open up any email that appears to be a scam in order to avoid their information from being exposed.
Taxpayers should be wary about phone calls they receive from people that claim to be agents from the IRS. If you receive one of these calls, it may be from an authorized private collection agency. Here‘s how to tell the difference between the agency or a scam call:
- Leave pre-recorded, threatening messages.
- Threaten to contact local authorities or legal action to have the taxpayers thrown in jail or sued.
- Call to demand payment and request that the money be placed on a prepaid card, gift card, or wire transfer. The IRS or 3rd party collection agency assisting the IRS will never ask a taxpayer for money over the phone.
Criminals can spoof or fake caller ID numbers in order to appear anywhere in the country or even spoof the IRS’s office phone number.
If you receive a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS or Treasury but you don’t owe any taxes, you should:
- Hang up immediately.
- Reach out to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration to report the cal.
- Report the call to the Federal Trade Commission.
- Report the call to the IRS by sending the number to email@example.com.