Preventing Tax Scams

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Despite its additional diligence, this year the IRS is predicting that we will see the highest rate of tax scams, from aggressive calls “from the IRS” asking for payment to third parties stealing your identity and filing tax returns in your name.  Knowing what to look for and taking a few precautions will help you avoid these scams.

Is it a scam?

Keep the following in mind:

  • The IRS does not call or email you.  They are required to initiate contact by mail.
  • The IRS does not ask for personal or financial information by email, text or social media.
  • The IRS does not ask for (or accept) cash, pre-paid credit cards or bank checks.

If you get a cold call “from the IRS” saying you owe taxes, you should fill out the “IRS impersonation scam” form on TIGTA’s website, or call TIGTA at (800) 366-4484. All scam e-mails should be forwarded to

If you actually owe taxes, you should contact the IRS at (800) 829-1040 to pay.

False Filing?

If someone has filed a return in your name, you should:

  • Notify the IRS immediately (the IRS usually sends a notice or letter informing you that a return has already been filed.  If you receive a letter, you should respond to the name and number on the notice or letter)
  • Complete Form 14039Identity Theft Affidavit.
  • Contact the IRS’s Identity Protection Specialized Unit (IPSU) at (800) 908-4490. They say “IPSU employees are available to resolve any tax account issues that resulted from identity theft.”
  • If you want more information, you can visit Publication 4535Identity Theft Prevention and Victim Assistance.
  • If you suspect someone else is using your social security number, or to secure information on how to prevent identity theft, you can contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Identity Theft Hotline toll-free at (877) 438-4338
  • Be sure to notify credit agencies and lock down your credit accounts

About the Authors

Laura Hoexter

As chair of the firm’s estate planning and probate group, Laura Hoexter’s practice focuses on wills, trusts and estates. She works with individuals to help them establish foundational documents, such as tax-saving wills and living trusts, financial and health care powers of attorney, and health care directives. She addresses complex issues that may arise, including non-citizen status, retirement benefit planning and life insurance arrangements. Laura has significant experience helping clients meet their more advanced estate planning goals, including the formation of charitable trusts and private foundations, as well as all types of irrevocable trusts such as life insurance trusts, special needs trusts, and qualified personal residence trusts.

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