The IRS is never going to call, email, text, or contact you on social media out of the blue. If you receive an unexpected call or message claiming to be from the IRS, it is a scammer. Almost all of the time, contact from the IRS will be in the form of a letter… but even a letter can be a scam. Here are some tips for this tax season to make sure criminals don’t get their hands on your hard-earned money.
One ploy scammers use is to promise you something too good to be true. You may get a notification that the IRS has recalculated your refund and you are entitled to a lot more money. All you have to do is send them a form with all of your personal information on it, including your social security number, bank account number, and maybe even passwords. You’ll never see a penny, but scammers will use the information to access your bank account, open lines of credit in your name, or even pretend to be you and file for your refund.
Scammers will also try to create a sense of urgency to make you act without thinking. They want to scare you. Here are some of the things they might say:
You owe taxes… and you need to pay it in gift cards or crypto. The IRS will never ask you to pay by those methods. Neither will any other legitimate company or utility. If anyone asks you to pay this way, it is a scam.
You’ll be arrested if you don’t pay now. Yes, people can be arrested for tax fraud, but an investigation is a lengthy process and you’ll get plenty of notification to clear up any errors first. Scammers hope you’ll be scared enough to do whatever they say without stopping to think.
Pay us or your social security number will be cancelled. No, your SSN can’t ever be cancelled, blocked, frozen, or suspended. This is just another trick to scare you.
Click this link to (fill in the blank). They’ll say they want you to verify information, take a survey, or see details about your refund. Sounds harmless enough, right? Do not click the link! Doing so may allow scammers to access your personal information, or even lock your system until you pay a ransom. Never click any links that you aren’t expecting.
If you receive any communication from the IRS, the best thing to do is call their main help line at 800-829-1040 or visit www.IRS.gov. Be aware that if you contact them they will need personal information to verify your identity before they give you any information. Remember, if someone contacts you, don’t share personal information… but if you call the IRS yourself you’ll need to prove it’s you, and not an identity thief pretending to be you.
If you are contacted by a suspected scammer, call the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office at 727-582-6200.
Non Emergency Line: (727) 582-6200 | In an Emergency call 911ADA info