Emails from Tax Man might be fake

Published April 20, 2016

You finished your 2015 taxes, then get an urgent email from the Internal Revenue Service.

“We need to verify your return,” says the message. “Send us your Social Security number and birthdate immediately.”

Yes, the scammers are at it again.

Though this year’s tax deadline has come and gone, the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel is warning about scammers sending emails to taxpayers in the weeks before and after April 18, the day taxes were due this year.

While some emails appear as if they are from the panel (which is a volunteer board that advises the IRS on taxpayer issues) or the IRS, they are actually from troublemakers “phishing” for personal details they can use to make unauthorized purchases, steal a taxpayer’s identity, or commit another kind of crime.

If you get an email that sounds like this, the IRS suggests you do the following:

  1. Do not reply.
  2. Do not open attachments because they could contain malicious code that could infect your computer or mobile phone.
  3. Do not click any links. They could take you to bogus sites.
  4. Forward the email as-is to [email protected] Don't forward scanned images because this removes information.
  5. Delete the original email.

The IRS also advises you report the scam to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration

Remember: The IRS doesn't initiate contact with taxpayers by email, and never asks you to share personal or financial details via email, text or social media.