The IRS warns that although scams are especially prevalent during tax season, they also take place throughout the year.1 As a result, it’s important to always be on the lookout for suspicious activity so that you don’t end up becoming the victim of a scam.
One of the more common IRS scams involves phishing emails. These scams involve unsolicited emails that pose as the IRS to convince you to provide personal information. Scam artists then use this information to commit identity or financial theft. Another dangerous type of phishing, referred to as “spear phishing,” is targeted towards specific individuals or groups within a company or organization. Spear phishing emails are designed to get you to click on a link or download an attachment that will install malware in order to disrupt critical operations within your company or organization.
Another popular IRS scam involves fraudulent communications that appear to be from the IRS or a law enforcement organization. These scams are designed to trick you into divulging your personal information by using scare tactics such as threatening you with arrest or license revocation. Be wary of any email, phone, social media, and text communications from individuals claiming they are from the IRS or law enforcement saying that you owe money to the IRS.
A relatively new IRS scam involves text messages that ask you to click on a link in order to claim a tax rebate or some other type of tax refund. Scammers who send these messages are trying to get you to give up your personal information and/or install malware on your phone. Watch out for texts that appear to be from the IRS that mention “tax rebate” or “refund payment.”
The IRS will not initiate contact with you by email, text message, or social media to request personal information. The IRS usually contacts you by regular mail delivered by the U.S. Postal Service. Here are some steps that may help you avoid scams.
- Never share your personal or financial information via email, text message, or over the phone.
- Don’t click on suspicious or unfamiliar links or attachments in emails, text messages, or instant messaging services.
- Keep your devices and security software up to date, maintain strong passwords, and use multi-factor authentication.
1) Internal Revenue Service, 2022