Tax Day is just around the corner, which also means the peak of tax-related scams. The IRS annually compiles its list of the “Dirty Dozen,” or the worst tax scams. For the complete list visit IR-2019-49.

Here are two common scams that often target taxpayers:

  • Phishing – These types of schemes come in the form of fakes emails, text messages, websites, and other social media to attempt to steal personal information. Most of these scams can lead to tax-related fraud and identity theft. The IRS continues to see new and evolving phishing schemes throughout the year.
    Visit (IR-2019-26) for more information.
  • Phone Scams – Criminals make unsolicited calls and leave voicemails with requests claiming to be IRS officials and demand payment with prepaid debit cards, gift cards, or wire transfer. Often times, they use threats or intimidation and even “spoof” their caller ID numbers to appear as the IRS or other legitimate agencies.
    Visit (IR-2019-29) for more information.

These are just two examples of scams that commonly occur during tax season, but they should not be the only ones to watch out for.

What are the warning signs of a scam?

The IRS will never:

  • Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card, or wire transfer. Generally, the IRS will first mail you a bill if you owe any taxes.
  • Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
  • Demand payment without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
  • Use email or text messages to discuss personal tax matters, such as taxes owed or tax refunds.

If you believe you have received a fraudulent call or phishing email, you can report them to [email protected]

Remember to stay alert to IRS or tax-related scams throughout the year. While there may be a surge in scams right now, they can happen at any time.