The official tax season began yesterday, and along with it open season on you—it’s time for tax scammers to try to fool you into sending them money, give them your personal information, or take your tax refund.
Or all three.
In response, the Federal Trade Commission has identified January 20–February 2 as Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week.
If you get a call, remember—
The IRS will NEVER:
- Call to demand immediate payment, or call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill.
- Initiate contact with you by phone, social media, text, or e-mail, or demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
- Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card. (Scammers are also asking for payment via Bitcoin and gift cards, such as iTunes cards.)
- Ask for PINs, passwords, or other confidential access information for credit cards, bank, or other accounts.
- Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS and asking for money, here’s what you should do:
If you don’t owe taxes, or have no reason to think that you do:
- Do not give out any information. Hang up immediately.
- Report the call. Contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) via their “IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting” webpage, or call (800) 366-4484.
- Report it to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Use the “FTC Complaint Assistant” on the FTC website; make sure to add “IRS Telephone Scam” in the notes.
If you know you owe, or think you may owe tax:
- Call the IRS directly at (800) 829-1040 for assistance.
Don’t be a victim!