Knowledge and awareness. Those two things can protect you and your family members from getting caught up in a phishing scam.

A phishing Scam is often an unsolicited email or a website that looks like a legitimate site designed to trick users. The scams convince people into providing personal and financial information.  Scam emails can arrive to personal and work accounts on computers, smartphones and tablets.

Phishing scams often use one or more of these tactics. The scammers:

  • Pose as a trusted bank, favorite retail store, government agency, or even a tax professional.
  • Says there’s something wrong with your account.
  • Says you’re in violation of a law.
  • Tells you to open a link in email or download an attachment.
  • Sends you to a familiar looking – but fake – website and ask them to log in to it.

Thieves do these things to trick you into revealing account numbers and passwords. The thieves secretly download malicious software on to your device to collect your personal information. The criminal might also try to fool you into sending money to the scammers.

It’s important to remember that the IRS never:

  • Calls to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, iTunes gift card or wire transfer.
  • Asks a taxpayer to make a payment to a person or organization other than the U.S. Treasury.
  • Threatens to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups saying they can have the taxpayer arrested for not paying.
  • Demands taxes be paid without giving the taxpayer the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed.

When in doubt, you can always check the status of your taxes by registering at From there, you can check your account balance for the current tax year or any previous tax year with a balance due.

If you have received an IRS-related or tax-themed phishing email forward it to

You can also report scam letters and phone calls to as well as the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.


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