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Avoid Tax Time Trickery: Tips Tax Thieves Don’t Want You to Know

Looking forward to a tax refund this season? Be sure you protect your money and your identity from tax thieves who cast their phishing lines with crafty lures.

Tax time thieves commonly send what appear to be official emails from the Internal Revenue Service, or make fictitious phone calls from numbers that appear to be from the IRS on a caller ID box. To get your financial or personal information, scammers will typically use scare tactics, such as demanding immediate payment for an outstanding amount of money they claim you owe the IRS. The truth is that if you owe the IRS money, or are expecting a refund, they will never initiate contact with you for payment details or personal information with an email, phone call, text message or via social media.

The good news is you can turn the tables on these tax time thieves with the following tips from the IRS:

If you receive a phishing email:

  • Don’t reply to the message.
  • Don’t open any attachments or follow unfamiliar links. They may have malicious code that will infect your device.
  • Don’t give out your personal information or financial information.
  • Forward the email to and then delete it.

If you receive a phishing phone call:

  • Ask for a call back number and an employee badge number.
  • If you think you may owe taxes, call the IRS directly at 800.829.1040.
  • If you don’t owe taxes or have no reason to think you do, call the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 800.366.4484 to report the incident.
  • You should also report the incident to the Federal Trade Commission by using their “FTC Complaint Assistant” on and add “IRS Telephone Scam” to the comments of your complaint. 
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