While many people take summer vacations, data thieves do not. Phishing emails and telephone scams continue to pop up around the country. The IRS reminds everyone to be vigilant to avoid becoming a victim.
Here are some things for taxpayers to remember so they can keep their personal data safe:
- The IRS does not leave pre-recorded, urgent messages asking for a call back. In one scam, the victim is told if they do not call back, a warrant will be issued for their arrest. Other variations may include the threat of other law-enforcement agency intervention, deportation or revocation of licenses. The IRS will never threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have the taxpayer arrested for not paying.
- Criminals can fake or “spoof” caller ID to appear to be anywhere in the country, including from an IRS office. This prevents taxpayers from being able to verify the true call number. If a taxpayer gets a call from the IRS, they should hang up and call the agency back at a publicly-available phone number.
- If a taxpayer receives an unsolicited email that appears to be from the IRS, they should report it by sending it to email@example.com. Some people might also receive an email from a program closely linked to the IRS, such as the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System. Recipients should also send these emails to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information. The IRS initiates most contacts through regular mail delivered by the United States Postal Service.
There are special circumstances when the IRS will call or come to a home or business. This includes situations when a taxpayer has an overdue tax bill or when the IRS needs to secure a delinquent tax return or a delinquent employment tax payment.