How to protect yourself and outsmart IRS scammers

IRS impersonation scams have become a rampant threat, targeting more than 2.4 million individuals in the US and resulting in losses exceeding $72.8 million.

IRS scammers employ various methods, including phone calls, emails, and text messages, to deceive individuals into believing they owe money or face issues with their tax returns. It’s crucial to recognize these red flags and take precautionary measures.

When receiving calls from unknown numbers claiming to be the IRS, exercise caution. Avoid providing personal information and consider letting it go to voicemail. The IRS will never demand immediate payment through cards or wire transfers over the phone, nor will they threaten legal action.

Scammers often send emails with convincing IRS logos, claiming eligibility for a tax refund. Clicking on links in these emails may lead to the disclosure of personal or financial information to criminals. Always verify the sender’s legitimacy before taking any action.

A recent scheme involves fraudulent mailings delivered in cardboard envelopes from fake delivery services. Inside, recipients find misleading contact information and a phone number not affiliated with the IRS. These letters may request personal information, including photos of your driver’s license.

Familiarize yourself with how the IRS conducts official communications. The IRS has discontinued in-person visits and will not initiate contact via email, text, or social media for personal or financial information. They communicate through regular mail delivered by the USPS.

If you suspect an impersonation scam, report it quickly. Use the IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting webpage or the FTC Complaint Assistant for phone scams. For unsolicited emails claiming to be from the IRS, forward them to

To verify the legitimacy of a tax refund, visit the official IRS website ( and utilize the “Where’s My Refund?” interactive tool. This tool provides accurate information about your refund status.

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