It’s tax season, and with tax season comes an increase in the number of tax-related notifications “from the IRS” or a tax preparer or tax preparation company designed to lure unsuspecting people into revealing their passwords or credit card information. Between January and October 2018, more than 2,000 tax-related scams were reported to the IRS, 60% more than were reported in 2017. Criminals use both email and phone calls in their quest for cash, and their messages often sound legitimate and urgent.
Often these emails lure you into clicking a link to “log into” your email account, or they urge you to open an attachment or download a document “for more information”. The phone calls focus on your owing money to the IRS and needing to pay the amount owed immediately to avoid large fines or jail time.
Don’t believe any of them. The IRS does not call or email taxpayers, and they don’t employ third-party companies to do so either. They always use paper mail for official communications with taxpayers.
These scams are popular at this time of year. If you receive such a call or email, trust your instincts and ignore it.
To learn more, see the IRS news release on phishing.