While many people take summer vacations, data thieves do not. Phishing emails and telephone scams continue to pop up around the country that target taxpayers.
Here are some things for taxpayers to remember so they can keep their personal data safe:
- The IRS does not leave pre-recorded, urgent messages asking for a call back. In one scam, the victim is told if they do not call back, a warrant will be issued for their arrest. Other variations may include the threat of other law-enforcement agency intervention, deportation or revocation of licenses. The IRS will never threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have the taxpayer arrested for not paying.
- Criminals can fake or “spoof” caller ID to appear to be anywhere in the country, including from an IRS office. This prevents taxpayers from being able to verify the true call number. If a taxpayer gets a call from the IRS, they should hang up and call the agency back at a publicly-available phone number.
- If a taxpayer receives an unsolicited email that appears to be from the IRS, they should report it by sending it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Some people might also receive an email from a program closely linked to the IRS, such as the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System. Recipients should also send these emails to email@example.com.
- The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information. The IRS initiates most contacts through regular mail delivered by the United States Postal Service.
- The IRS and its authorized private collection agencies will never:
- Call to demand immediate payment using a specific method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. Generally, the IRS will first mail a bill to any taxpayer who owes taxes. All tax payments should only be made payable to the U.S. Treasury. Taxpayers should never make checks out to third parties.
- Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have the taxpayer arrested for not paying.
- Demand that taxes be paid without giving the taxpayer the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed.
- Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
- Use email, text messages or social media to discuss personal tax issues, such as those involving bills or refunds.