During tax season, scammers are working overtime to steal your refund. Tax scammers often use pressure and a sense of urgency to gain access to your personal and financial information.

  • Scammers use spoofing and robocalls to make it seem like the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is calling.
    • If someone calls pretending to be from the IRS, request a reference number, then hang up, and use one of the official IRS numbers to call back and confirm the call was legitimate.
  • Watch out also for smishing scams sending "urgent" text messages with links to your mobile phone.
  • They may also target you via emails:
    • Scammers impersonating the IRS may send you phishing emails with urgent subject lines and active links that demand immediate payment. Before clicking any link in an email, check the "from" name. Be wary - If it's not from a ".gov" address.

Every year, the IRS compiles the Dirty Dozen, a list of the year's most prevalent tax scams impacting consumers that tend to peak during tax season.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has issued an alert, reminding consumers that the IRS will not send tax refunds or try to contact you by email or text.

Knowing the warning signs of a tax scam, and how to tell if it's really the IRS attempting to contact with you help you avoid becoming a victim of fraud.

Tips to keep in mind:

  • The IRS DOES NOT initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or social media platforms to request personal or financial information.
  • If you receive a call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, do not give out any of your personal information over the phone.
  • If you know or think you owe taxes, call the IRS at 1.800.829.1040 to validate the call. If there is a valid issue, the IRS employees at this number will assist you.
  • If you do not owe taxes and/or never received a bill in the mail prior to the call, hang up immediately. Then call the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration to report the incident at 1.800.366.4484.
  • The Taxpayer Advocate service is real, but will not call taxpayers without reason.
  • The Bureau of Tax Enforcement is not a real organization.

You can also file a complaint with the FTC to report IRS scams.

You can file a complaint about fraudulent phone calls and texts with the FCC at https://consumercomplaints.fcc.gov.

To learn more about your consumer rights under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, check out the FCC's consumer guide on unwanted calls and texts.