- Someone calls or emails saying they're from the IRS -- and you owe money. They say if you don't pay immediately, a warrant could be issued for your arrest.
- Sometimes they recite personal information such as the last four digits of your Social Security number to sound credible. The number on the caller ID might even look legitimate or imitate the IRS toll-free number, or the email address might be similar to actual IRS email addresses.
- Someone promises you a big refund if you let them prepare your taxes. Scammers generally prey on people who do not have a filing requirement, such as low-income individuals or the elderly. They also target people who do not speak English. They charge big money for bad advice -- or worse yet, file the return and have the refund deposited into their own account.
- Someone gets your previous tax returns, income history W-2s, or other personal information and files fraudulent returns on your behalf.
- Someone contacts you directly after a disaster and claims to be working on behalf of the IRS to help the victims file casualty loss claims and get tax returns.
- Do NOT give out info over the phone or via email. The IRS will never ask for such information over the phone and will always send out a written notice.
- Call the IRS to verify that the claim of money owed is legitimate. Call the 800 number to be sure you're talking to the real IRS, not some scammer.
- Always get a copy of what was filed for you if you use a tax preparer. Remember, taxpayers are legally responsible for what's on their tax return even if it is prepared by someone else.
- Shred anything with personal information on it. If you have emails with tax information, be sure they are secure by choosing difficult passwords and changing them often.