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Beware of IRS Impersonation Scams

updated 11/30/16

Email Phishing Scams:

The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email. Unless you are already in contact with an agent of the IRS & are expecting to receive email communication, you should not click on any link or download any attachment to an email (if possible don't even open the email). If you receive an email from the IRS or any financial institution which instructs you to click on a link or download and attachment it is most likely a scam. Unless you are expecting an email, such as a for a password reset from your bank this email is most likely a "phishing" scam whereby you are tricked into giving up personal information to a hacker. You should report phishing scams directly to the IRS.

IRS Impersonation Phone Scams:

If you receive a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS & threatening you with arrest or a lawsuit, most likely this is a scam and the best thing to do is hang up. If there is a similar message left on your voicemail don't return the call. The IRS will always contact you first by US Mail if you have unpaid taxes or other tax issues. If you have any concern that you might have a balance due to the IRS it is best for you to contact the IRS by phone. If you initiate the phone call using a phone number known to be legitimate then you will know you are actually speaking to the IRS.

Spoofing Phone Numbers & Email Addresses:

Scammers are able to "spoof" the phone number, location and/or the the name of the caller which appears on your caller ID display when you receive a phone call. This means that your phone can be displaying an incoming call from the "IRS" or showing the IRS toll free number, but the phone call is not actually from the IRS or the phone number displayed. The name, phone number or location shown on your phone when you have an incoming call is no indication of whether the phone call is legitimate. If anyone ever calls you asking for payment or personal information assume it is a scam. Email can also be "spoofed" to show a sender name or email address other than the actual sender. Never respond to any unsolicited email directing you to click on a link or requesting personal information (unless you know for sure the email was sent as a result of some action you took on a company's website, phone call with a representative, etc).