Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.

Ask Kim

Don't Be a Victim of IRS Tax Scams

If you have any doubt, remember, the IRS will never contact you by phone or e-mail.

thinkstock

I recently received a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, asking me to call back about my tax refund and telling me the matter was urgent. The number did seem to be from Washington, D.C., but I’m still worried it might be a scam. What should I do?

See Also: How I Dodged a Phony IRS Tax Scam

You are right to be suspicious. Every year during tax season, crooks come out with new scams to try to steal your personal information and money. They may call you or send an official-looking e-mail saying that the IRS needs your Social Security or bank account number to deposit your refund, or they may say you owe money and ask for your credit card number so you can make a payment. Sometimes they even threaten to have you arrested unless you send cash through a prepaid debit card or wire transfer. They may manipulate the caller ID to look like they’re calling from the IRS and may already have some information about you – such as the last four digits of your Social Security number.

The IRS will never call or e-mail you demanding immediate payment or asking for your credit card or bank account numbers and other personal information over the phone. If you think you may actually owe money, call the IRS directly at 800-829-1040.

Advertisement

You can report suspicious activity to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at, and you can forward suspicious e-mails to phishing@irs.gov. Also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission Complaint Assistant.

For more information about common tax scams, see the IRS’s Scam Phone Calls Alert. Also see the IRS’s Tax Scams/Consumer Alerts page for updates about the newest versions of tax-related scams.

See Also: Worst States to Live In for Taxes

Got a question? Ask Kim at askkim@kiplinger.com.