Washington, D.C. – The IRS gets thousands of reports every year from people who get emails that appear to be from the IRS. Scammers often use the IRS name or logo to make the message appear authentic hoping you’ll respond to it.
In reality, it’s a scam known as “phishing,” attempting to trick you into giving out your personal and financial information. The criminals then use this information to commit identity theft or steal your money.
The IRS has this advice if you get an unexpected email claiming to be from the IRS or directing you to an IRS site:
- Don’t reply to the message;
- Don’t open any attachments. Attachments may contain malicious code that will infect your computer; and
- Don’t click on any links in a suspicious email or phishing website and don’t enter confidential information.
Here are five other things the IRS wants you to know about phishing scams.
- The IRS doesn’t ever initiate contact with taxpayers by email, texting or social media to request personal or financial information;
- The IRS never asks for detailed personal and financial information like PIN numbers, passwords or similar secret access information for credit card, bank or other financial accounts;
- The address of the official IRS website is www.irs.gov. Don’t be misled by sites claiming to be the IRS but ending in .com, .net, .org or anything other than .gov. If you discover a website that claims to be the IRS but you suspect it’s bogus, don’t provide any personal information on the site. Report it to the IRS;
- If you get a phone call, fax or letter in the mail from an individual claiming to be from the IRS but you suspect they’re not, contact the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 to determine if the IRS is really trying to contact you. Report any bogus correspondence. Forward suspicious emails to firstname.lastname@example.org;
You can help the IRS and other law enforcement agencies shut down these schemes. Visit the IRS.gov website to get details on how to report tax scams and helpful resources if you are the victim of a scam.