It’s that time of year once again. The holidays have come and gone and we’re all settling into a new year. With all of our resolutions aside, one thing is still left to do – our taxes. This season is also the time where IRS-related scams are plentiful. It’s important to know that the IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by any type of electronic communication, including email, text messages, and social media channels. Here, we share some IRS direction for handling a suspicious IRS-related communication.
If you receive an email claiming to be from the IRS that contains a request for personal information:
Do not reply. Do not open any attachments. Attachments may contain malicious code that will infect your computer. Do not click on any links. Forward the email as-is, to [email protected]. After you forward the email, delete the original email message you received. Note: Please forward the full original email to [email protected]. Do not forward scanned images of printed emails as that strips the email of valuable information only available in the electronic copy.
If you discover a website on the Internet that claims to be the IRS but you suspect it is bogus:
Send the URL of the suspicious site to [email protected]. Please add in the subject line of the email, “Suspicious website.”
If you receive a phone call from an individual claiming to be with the IRS but you suspect they are not an IRS employee:
Ask for a call back number and employee badge number. Contact the IRS to determine if the caller is an IRS employee with a legitimate need to contact you.
If you receive a paper letter via mail from an individual claiming to be the IRS but you suspect they are not an IRS employee:
Contact the IRS to determine if the mail is a legitimate IRS letter. If it is a legitimate IRS letter, reply if needed. If the party that sent the paper letter is not legitimate, contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1-800-366-4484.
If you receive an unsolicited fax (such as Form W8-BEN) claiming to be from the IRS, requesting personal information:
Contact the IRS to determine if the fax is from the IRS. If you learn that the fax is not from the IRS, please send the information via email at [email protected]. In the subject line of the email, please type the word ‘FAX’.
If you receive a text message or Short Message Servce (SMS) message claiming to be from the IRS:
Do not reply. Do not open any attachments. Attachments may contain malicious code that will infect your computer or mobile phone. Do not click on any links. Forward the text as-is, to 202-552-1226. Note: Standard text messaging rates apply. If possible, in a separate text, forward the originating number to 202-552-1226. After you forward the text, be sure to delete the original text.
IDShield is a product of Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc. d/b/a LegalShield (“LegalShield”). LegalShield provides access to identity theft protection and restoration services. For complete terms, coverage and conditions, please see an identity theft plan. All Licensed Private Investigators are licensed in the state of Oklahoma. This is meant to provide general information and is not intended to provide legal advice, render an opinion, or provide any specific recommendations.