Tax Scams

Tax scams can happen at any time of year, not just during tax time.

Phishing remains one of the most predominant social engineering tactics used. Scammers impersonate IRS agents, other government employees, or debt collectors across various communication channels like phone, text, online, or via mail. Their goal is to trick you into sending them money for taxes, penalties, or fees you don't actually owe. A criminal can also use a social security number to file a tax return and steal that person’s tax refund or tax credit. Stay alert with these tips.

Tips to Avoid Tax Scams:


Number 1 The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text message, or social media to request personal or financial information. The IRS's first contact with you will always be a letter in the mail.

DO NOT give out your personal or account information to anyone if you feel unsure of the communication. 

Number 2File your taxes as early as possible. You can also request an Identity Protection PIN (IP PIN), a six-digit number that helps the IRS verify your identity when filing your return.

Number 3Avoid clicking on any links sent to you via text or email about your tax refund or refund status, as it could potentially install malware on your computer or phone, giving scammers the opportunity to steal personal and financial information from you.

Number 4Check the status of any pending refund on the IRS official website. Visit Where’s My Refund to see if you’re really getting a refund.

Number 5Only deal with trustworthy tax preparation services. Research and review the different types of tax preparers and their qualifications for your specific needs. 

Number 6Review websites carefully and make sure you are accessing the real IRS when filing your taxes electronically or inquiring for additional information. Always verify the legitimacy of websites and email addresses by double-checking the URL.


The IRS will never:

  • Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method, such as a prepaid debit card, gift card, or wire transfer. 
  • 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 taxpayers the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed.
  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
  • Call you about an unexpected refund.


If you suspect you’ve been a victim of a scam, let us know immediately so we can
help you review your account and dispute any charges if needed.

Also, report the incident to the FTC at

Additional Fraud Resources


Watch this video to learn more about government imposters.