Taxpayers: Be Aware of Scammers Posing as the IRS

Scammers posing as IRSCriminals are constantly searching for novel ways to deceive innocent taxpayers. Scammers can mimic the IRS via phone or email, in person, or by mail or delivery service, wasting people’s time and money. Taxpayers can protect themselves by learning about potential scams, some of which are described below.

In Person Scams

Scammers may also show up at the door impersonating IRS officers, confusing not only taxpayers but also local law enforcement. As this scam has spread, taxpayers’ concerns about home visits by IRS revenue officers have escalated.

To address these scams, the IRS recently declared that most unannounced visits to taxpayers by agency revenue officers will be discontinued. Instead of unannounced visits, revenue inspectors will contact taxpayers using an appointment letter, known as a 725-B Letter, and then schedule a follow-up meeting. This will also allow taxpayers to be better prepared for the meeting. Taxpayers who receive IRS requests by mail or phone should contact IRS customer service directly to verify authenticity.

Mail Scams

One recent and sneaky tactic used by scammers entails mail arriving in a cardboard envelope from a delivery agency or the United States Postal Service (USPS). The accompanying letter features the IRS masthead and the phrase “in relation to your unclaimed refund.” Although the contact information does not belong to the IRS, the mailing appears authentic. This approach gathers sensitive personal information from taxpayers, such as driver’s license photographs, which identity thieves can exploit to steal taxpayers’ refunds and other sensitive financial information.

Electronic Scams

Identity thieves continue to send emails and texts promising tax refunds and offering to help solve tax issues. They may impersonate the IRS or tax professionals, enticing taxpayers to click on false links in order to obtain valuable personal information.

Remember: the IRS never initiates contact with taxpayers by email, text, or social media to discuss a bill or tax refund. Contact us if you’d like more information about identifying common tax scams.