How to Report IRS Scams
IRS scams are common year-round, but they are especially prominent during tax paying time. You may receive a suspicious email, letter, or phone call claiming to be from the IRS and demanding payment for taxes you supposedly owe the government. Reporting the scam online or by phone can help the IRS track down the scammer and prevent them from targeting others in the future. It can also help you protect your personal information so you do not become a victim of a scam.
Confirming the Scam
Flag emails from the IRS asking for your personal information.If you receive an email claiming to be from the IRS that requests your tax information, your banking information, or any other personal information, it is likely a scam. Do not open any attachments in the email or click on any links in the body of the email. Rather than respond to the email, take a screenshot of it and delete it.
- You can then use the screenshot to report the email to the IRS as a scam.
Record the employee’s name and badge number if you get a suspicious phone call.If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS and they ask you for personal information or tax information over the phone, it is likely a scam call. Rather than provide any information over the phone, ask the person for their name, badge number, and their call back number.
- You can then use this information to look up the person through the IRS to confirm whether they are legitimate or they are a scammer.
- The IRS will ask you if you will accept a call back to your number. A person who is pretending to be the IRS will not do this and demand information in the moment instead.
Check the information on a letter or notice through the IRS home page.If you receive a letter or notice asking you to fill out a form or provide your personal information, do not respond to it without checking it first. Look for forms on the IRS home page to confirm the instructions and forms are the same as on the website. If the forms or instructions do not match, do not respond to the letter. Scammers will often modify real IRS letters to try to rip people off.
- Keep the letter or notice so you can refer to it when you report the scam to the IRS.
Reporting IRS Scams Online or by Phone
Report a scam by emailing .Send an email with the subject line “IRS phone scam,” “IRS letter scam,” or “IRS email scam.” You should also include information about the date and time you received the phone call, letter, or email, as well as details about the scammer’s name, phone number, or other contact information.
- If you took a screenshot of the scam email or made a photocopy of the scam letter, include it in the email to the IRS.
- You can also forward the original scam email to the IRS email address as part of your report.
Fill out a report form on the U.S.Treasury website for a more guided option.You can access the report form here: . You will need to include the date you received the IRS scam as well as information about any payments you may have made to the scammer.
- The form will ask you to create a digital PIN as part of your report so you can access it again if needed.
- Make sure you click “Submit” at the bottom of the form so it can be processed.
Call 800-366-4484 to report a scam by phone.If you’d prefer to talk to an IRS representative over the phone, call the IRS directly. Tell the representative about the date and time you received the scam as well as any other details about the scam you can remember.
- If you suspect you owe the IRS money and want to confirm this through a legitimate source, you can ask the IRS representative for this information.
Avoiding IRS Scams
Do not pay for taxes over the phone or by email until you receive a letter from the IRS.The IRS will never demand that you pay for your taxes over the phone or through email. They will provide several payment options and allow you to appeal the amount you owe. They will only ask for payment after they have sent you a detailed letter about how much exactly you owe them, based on your tax records.
- If you are in doubt about whether a call or email is legitimate, contact the IRS directly. It is better to wait and pay the real IRS rather than rush your payment and end up getting scammed.
Pay for any back taxes you owe the IRS through a secure online or mail process.If you owe the IRS taxes, they will contact you by mail and provide you with secure ways to pay them back. You will have the option to pay online through a secure portal managed by the IRS or by mail with a cheque to the IRS office. Never pay for back taxes by clicking on a link in an email, as it is likely not legitimate.
- The IRS will never threaten or pressure you to pay your taxes right away. They also will not demand that you pay your taxes through 1 method only, such as a pre-paid debit card.
Report any suspicious emails, phone calls, or letters from the IRS to be safe.When in doubt, report any emails, calls, letters, or even messages on social media that seem suspicious to the IRS. They can then let you know if any of them are legitimate so you do not end up paying a scammer or have your personal information stolen.
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