Watch Out for Tax-Refund Scams

Kip Tips

Watch Out for Tax-Refund Scams

Don't let identity thieves trick you into divulging personal information.

With tax-filing season in full swing, it's important to be aware of scams that target taxpayers. The most common, according to the IRS, is a refund scam.

It involves an e-mail claiming to be from the IRS or the Exempt Organizations area of the IRS and telling people that they are eligible to receive a tax refund. The e-mail instructs people to click on an attachment or open another link to access a claim form, which asks for personal information.

You DO NOT have to fill out any special claim forms to receive a refund -- just your tax return. More importantly, the IRS DOES NOT send unsolicted e-mails, tweets or Facebook messages to taxpayers. And it doesn't use e-mail to collect personal information from taxpayers.

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Thieves use refund scams to trick people into divulging personal information that can be used to access accounts or steal identities. Other common IRS-impersonation scams ask people to participate in paid surveys, reference tax provisions such as "Making Work Pay" or claim that the recipient of the e-mail is under investigation. And the IRS warns you not to open any e-mails that reference underreported income because they can download malware onto your computer. You can forward any suspicious e-mails to

If you already filed your tax return and expect a check from the government, read my column on how to track the status of your refund.