Online Scams That Impersonate The IRS

  • Beware of emails or tweets claiming to be from the IRS—it may be a scam!

    Scammers who impersonate the IRS often use the name and logo of the IRS or U.S. Department of the Treasury to mislead you into believing the communication is legitimate. Generally, the IRS does not send unsolicited e-mails to acquire financial and personal information from taxpayers.

    Some scammers even set up phony websites to trick you into revealing personal and financial information when you respond, such as: passwords, PINs, Social Security numbers, bank accounts and credit card numbers in order to:

    • Empty your bank and financial accounts;
    • Run up charges on your existing credit cards;
    • Open new credit cards in your name;
    • Apply for new loans, services or benefits in your name;
    • File fraudulent tax returns to receive tax refunds and/or;
    • Commit crimes using your identity.

    Typically, an e-mail that claims to come from the IRS will entice you to respond with a subject line, like “tax refund”, “inherited funds” or “IRS notice”. It’ll instruct you to open an attachment or click on a link that leads to a fake IRS website. Once at the site, it will request personal financial information “to insure your identity” or the clicked link may secretly download malware, giving the scammer remote access to your financial data.

    Should your identity be stolen, you could spend months or years and your hard-earned money cleaning up the mess thieves have made of your good name and credit record. In the meantime, you could lose out on job opportunities, be refused loans, housing or even get arrested for crimes you didn’t commit.

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