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How to Protect Yourself from IRS Scams

March 11, 2021

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Thousands of citizens have lost millions of dollars and had their personal information stolen because of tax scams. Due to COVID-19, the number of individuals impacted by these scams has increased significantly. Illegal activity and schemes may include obtaining social security numbers, unemployment benefits, and even money after a natural disaster. Scammers seem to leave no one behind, as they are targeting individual taxpayers, businesses, and payroll and tax professionals.

Scammers will contact individuals by mail, telephone, or email. However, the IRS would like all taxpayers to be aware that they do not initiate contact by email, text messages, or social media channels to request personal or financial information. Most contact from the agency is through regular mail delivered by the United States Postal Service.

To become familiarized with various types of tax scams, please visit the IRS Tax Scams/Consumer Alerts website. The IRS also encourages you to read, “How to know it’s really the IRS calling or knocking on your door” to reduce the possibility of you falling victim to individuals impersonating IRS officials.

Below are general tips from the IRS to remember to avoid potential tax scams:

  • The IRS does not call to demand immediate payment via prepaid debit cards, gift cards, or wire transfers. The IRS will first mail a bill to taxpayers, then they may call to set up an appointment for discussion or come to a home or business for collection. However, a demand for immediate payment to an entity other than the U.S. Treasury will not occur.
  • The IRS will not reject the opportunity for you to question or appeal the amount of money you owe.
  • The IRS will not threaten to send law enforcement and have you arrested for not paying your dues.
  • The IRS cannot revoke a driver’s license, business licenses, or immigration status.
  • Taxpayers are instructed to make payments to the “United States Treasury” with other specific guidelines provided.

If you believe you are being scammed by an IRS Impersonator, stay calm and do not surrender to any threats. Hang up immediately and report your call by using the “IRS Impersonation Scam,” calling 800-366-4484, or emailing