Avoid scams this tax season

By: Office of Information Security

It’s important to know how to spot scams to keep your money and personal information safe during tax season.

Use caution when viewing emails, responding to telephone calls or getting advice about your taxes.

If you are unsure about the legitimacy of a message, please contact the IMS Service Desk at 210-567-7777, to validate the source and content of the message.

Here are some tips to protect yourself against some common scams:

IRS impersonation

The IRS will never send you unsolicited email. If you receive an email claiming to be from the IRS, it is likely an impersonation scam. Don’t click links or open files in the emails as they may be malicious. Report these emails by emailing phishing@irs.gov.

The “Bureau of Tax Enforcement”

You should never ignore mail from the IRS, but you should make sure that it is real. Scammers will send letters that appear legitimate but are fake using the name “Bureau of Tax Enforcement” demanding payment. Here’s how to spot a fraudulent IRS letter.

Cancelled Social Security number

If someone claiming to be an IRS or other government agent contacts you saying your Social Security number has been suspended due to fraud or criminal activity, please be advised that the person is an impersonator. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), your SSN will never be suspended. If you are contacted by an impersonator, report it.

The real IRS WILL NOT:

  • Call to demand immediate payment. The IRS will send you a bill in the mail.
  • Demand that you pay taxes and not allow you to question or appeal the amount that you owe.
  • Require that you pay your taxes a certain way. For instance, require that you pay with a prepaid debit card.
  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
  • Threaten to bring in police or other agencies to arrest you for not paying.
  • Use unsolicited email, text messages or any social media to discuss your personal tax issue.
  • Ask you for personal information, such as your SSN, PINs or passwords.

To protect your information:

  • Contact the IRS directly to verify phone calls, electronic or paper messages.
  • Don’t open files, click links, or call numbers in unsolicited emails, text messages, IMs, Facebook postings, tweets, etc.
  • Always verify the identity of a person asking you for information, money, or access to your accounts, computer, etc.
  • If you can’t verify that something is legitimate, ignore, delete it, or contact the person/organization who supposedly sent it to ask.
  • Forward IRS-related scam emails to phishing@irs.gov. Make sure to report IRS-impersonation telephone calls.

Learn more about current tax scams and consumer alerts on the IRS website.

You can also contact Information Security if you have any questions about how you can protect yourself during tax season.

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