Tax Season: Phishing and Phone Scams Abound

It's that time of the year again! While the working masses scramble to get their taxes filed, greedy minds are conjuring up more ways to steal the identities of honest tax-payers. It's important to be on the lookout for scams and protect your personal information. Especially take caution with electronically transmitted information, as phishing is a popular method of identity theft.

Scams will often deceptively claim to actually be from the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS website offers more information regarding types of identity theft and ways to prevent or avoid them at http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=155682,00.html. The IRS also provides a list of several popular scams, found at http://www.irs.gov/uac/Tax-Scams-Consumer-Alerts. The top of the list describes a sophisticated telephone scam.

The IRS will NEVER:

  1. call to demand immediate payment, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill;
  2. demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe;
  3. require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card;
  4. ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone; or
  5. threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
It is important to be cautious and make sure that a promising message is actually coming from the source it claims before buying into its offer. Above all, be careful who you trust, and have a safe tax season!

Last Updated: August 23, 2016