Don't get scammed this tax season.

Tax scams are nothing new. In fact, the IRS has a page of its website devoted to consumer alerts regarding tax scams. Unfortunately, criminals continue to create new ways to trick victims, and they are especially active during tax season. It’s important to remain informed to avoid falling prey to these tricks.

Here are just a few scams the IRS warns about:


Canceled Social Security Number

In the most recent version of the social security number scam, taxpayers receive a call from scammers who threaten to suspend or cancel the taxpayer’s social security number due to an unpaid tax bill. If you receive one of these calls, the IRS suggest hanging up. Social security numbers can’t be canceled and the IRS will never ask for personal information by phone.

IRS Phone Scams

There are many versions of fraudulent IRS calls, but some of them can seem legitimate at first. Scammers have become sophisticated in their approach, even altering caller ID listings and providing fake IRS badge numbers. In many instances the scammers already have a lot of the taxpayers’ personal information, including the last four digits of their social security numbers. The criminals attempt to convince victims they owe taxes that must be paid immediately by wire transfer or gift cards. In some cases, victims are told they will receive a refund and they must provide personal information. Unfortunately, the callers will also leave “urgent” messages threatening arrest or deportation if the victims don’t respond. When it comes to this scam, it’s best to ignore it and to, once again, remember that the IRS will not ask for payment over the phone.

Calls from Taxpayer Advocate Service

Another version of fake IRS calls involves criminal impersonation of the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS), an independent organization within the IRS. Like other phone scams, callers may provide fake ID badge numbers and change caller ID so the calls appear to originate from TAS offices. The scammers will leave urgent messages and then demand personal information from victims. The TAS exists to help taxpayers who need assistance, but the IRS wants to remind taxpayers that the organization will not make unsolicited phone calls.

Natural Disaster Scams

In this scam, criminals initiate unsolicited phone calls, emails, social media messages, in-person visits or other contact with taxpayers who wish to help victims of natural disasters. The scammers then take advantage of the victims’ generosity by soliciting funds under the guise of charitable donations. The criminals may impersonate charities, make fake websites, or operate fake charities. Sometimes they also claim to collect donations on behalf of the IRS. To avoid these types of scams, the IRS suggests always verifying legitimate charities before donating. provides a Tax-Exempt Organization Search that allows users to confirm tax exemption before donating to charity organizations. When donating, also make sure to pay with check or credit card—never cash. Also, avoid giving out any personal information to anyone who solicits a donation.

Fake Tax Preparers

Unfortunately, there are some tax preparers who are not who they claim to be. These “ghost” preparers are really just trying to make money from unsuspecting victims. Instead of preparing taxes and sending to the IRS, they use a variety of unscrupulous tactics. Some of the tactics include charging a percentage based on the refund amount, requiring cash payment without a receipt, reporting false income to claim additional deductions, or even re-routing refunds to their personal accounts. The IRS urges all taxpayers to carefully review returns and check bank account and routing numbers carefully before submitting.

IRS Phishing Emails

The list of phishing email scams seems to expand in number and sophistication each year. These unsolicited emails often appear legitimate and even include government seals and official-sounding language, but instead they are tools for criminals to access personal information or infect computers with malware. Again, the IRS instructs taxpayers to look out for fake emails and reminds customers that the IRS does not ask for personal information via email. If you suspect you have received a phishing email, you can report it to the IRS via their website.

Here are a few reminders from the IRS to help you stay protected from tax scams this season:

  • The IRS never asks for personal information via email, text, or social media.
  • The IRS always contacts via letter first. Confirm letters by calling the phone number listed on, not on the potentially fraudulent letter.
  • The IRS does not demand immediate payment or surprise payments.
  • The IRS and other government agencies do not accept payments made by gift cards.
  • The IRS does not threaten to bring in law enforcement due to non-payment.
  • The IRS does not demand payment without a chance to question the amount owed.

For more information about tax scams, visit To avoid the risk of fraudulent tax or other schemes, contact a trusted tax provider. The professionals at Rodefer Moss will answer your questions and take care of your tax needs.


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Tagged IRS Scam, Tax