If your phone rings and someone on the other end demands your Social Security number or says you have an unpaid tax bill and threatens you with a penalty, the person on the other end of the line is probably a tax scammer.
Here are some tips on how to protect yourself this tax season:
The IRS will not call you
If you get a phone call threatening you with arrest or asking for your Social Security number, hang up. The IRS will never call you to demand immediate payment, and it will never threaten to arrest you for unpaid taxes. Similarly, ignore emails as well.
Don’t accept payment instructions
Don’t accept specific payment instructions. The IRS offers many payment methods, and you can choose the one you want.
If scammers get your Social Security number, they won’t be able to use it to file a phony tax return and claim your refund if you’ve already done that.
Use security software
Be sure you have an updated antivirus security program and a firewall installed on your computer or device. Also be aware if you receive an email with a link to a software update. It could be from a scammer trying to trick you into downloading a data-stealing computer virus.
Protect your personal information
Don’t carry around your Social Security card or leave sensitive documents lying around.
Contact the IRS if you think you’ve been scammed
Report the scam to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 800-366-4484. If you believe someone has used your personal information to file a tax return or steal your identity, contact 800-908-4490.