Tax Scam Alert

Don’t get scammed – protect yourself from tax scam artists

Tax scams occur throughout the year, not just during tax season. Unfortunately, they occur via phone scams and email scams. Below are some indicators to what is a scam.

Email Scams

There is a new email phishing scam. The emails appear to be from the IRS — but they are not — and include a link to a fake website intended to mirror the official IRS website. The emails contain the direction “you are to update your IRS e-file immediately” and include a fake IRS website. If you get this message, don’t respond to the email or click on the links. Instead, forward the scam emails to the IRS at phishing@irs.gov. For more information, visit the IRS’s Report Phishing Web page.

Remember: There is only one official IRS website, www.IRS.gov The IRS does not use unsolicited email, text messages or any social media to discuss your personal tax issue.

Telephone Scams

If you get a call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, there are five tell-tale signs that the caller is a scammer and not from the IRS. The IRS will never:

• call you about taxes you owe without first mailing you an official notice;

• demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe;

• require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card;

• ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone; or

• threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.

If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, here’s what you should do:

• If you know you owe taxes or think you might owe, call the IRS at 800-829-1040. The IRS workers can help you with a payment issue.

• If you know you don’t owe taxes or have no reason to believe that you do, report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) at 800-366-4484 or at www.tigta.gov.

• You can file a complaint using the FTC Complaint Assistant; choose “Other” and then “Imposter Scams.” If the complaint involves someone impersonating the IRS, include the words “IRS Telephone Scam” in the notes.

For more information on reporting tax scams, go to www.irs.gov and type “scam” in the search box.