Identity Theft and Your Taxes
Your identity and money can be stolen in a tax-related scam via email (“phishing”), fax, phone, or letters. Some recent examples of identity theft scams are:
• Phone scam. A bogus phone call where you are told you owe the IRS money and threatened that a warrant will be issued for your arrest. Variations include the threat of other law-enforcement agency intervention, deportation, or revocation of licenses. Some scam artists program their computers to display IRS phone numbers on your Caller ID.
• Email phishing scam. A bogus email that appears to be from the IRS or a program closely related to the IRS, such as the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), that attempts to trick you into revealing personal and financial information. The email includes links to bogus websites intended to mirror the official IRS website.
• Tax transcript. The bogus email carries an attachment labeled “Tax Account Transcript” or something similar, and the subject line uses some variation of the phrase “tax transcript.” The attachment contains a well-known malware known as Emotet.
• IRS refunds. A bogus email, claiming to come from the IRS, tells you that you are eligible to receive a tax refund for a given amount if you just follow the instructions in the email.
Notify the IRS
If you receive a tax-related phishing email, do not click on the links or open any attachments. Forward the email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call the IRS at 800-366-4484.
How the IRS Contacts Taxpayers
• The IRS will never initiate contact with you by email or any social media tools to request personal or financial information.
• It is unusual for the IRS to initiate contact by fax or phone call. You can call the IRS at 800-829-1040 to verify that unexpected fax or phone call is legitimate.