Preventing Tax Scams
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 email@example.com.
If you actually owe taxes, you should contact the IRS at (800) 829-1040 to pay.
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 14039, Identity 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 4535, Identity 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