Avoid IRS Imposters This Tax Season

posted on Tuesday, April 4, 2023 in SHAZAM Blog

The tax filing deadline is quickly approaching, which can be a stressful time for those trying to make the cutoff. Unfortunately, scammers want to add even more anxiety to this frantic season. This tax season, many bad actors are posing as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). They may use phishing, scamming and other fear tactics to trick unsuspecting victims into paying them. But you can keep the scammers away from your refund and personal information by following some simple best practices. In addition, you can help protect your accountholders by sharing the following information.  

How the Scam Works

Scammers pretend to be the IRS to get you to send them money, claiming you have overdue taxes. They’ll send unsolicited emails, calls, texts or direct messages that prompt you to share valuable personal and financial information. They may even threaten to arrest or deport you if you don’t pay now. Before paying or revealing your personal information, here's how to know if the person on the other end works for the U.S. government.

How the IRS Contacts You

The IRS says their first contact with you is a letter in the mail. It’s not a phone call, email or text message. Additionally, the IRS states it will not:

  • 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 a bill to any taxpayer who owes taxes. 
  • Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law enforcement groups to have the taxpayer arrested for not paying. 
  • Demand that taxes be paid without giving taxpayers the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed. 
  • Call unexpectedly about a tax refund. 

What to do if You’re Called or Receive a Message

If someone calls you claiming to be an IRS agent, here’s what the IRS recommends you should do:

  • Don’t give your personal or financial information. The IRS doesn’t start contact with taxpayers by email, text or social media to request personal or financial information. 
  • Take notes. Write down details such as the phone number and name of the caller.  
  • Hang up and report it. You can report impersonation scams to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration on their Report Waste, Fraud and Abuse webpage or by calling 800-366-4484. 

If you receive an email under the same pretenses: 

  • Don’t reply or open any attachments. They likely contain malware to gain access to your computer or mobile device. The same advice is true for any links.  
  • Report it. The IRS asks you to follow these steps and forward the email to phishing@irs.gov 
  • Delete the original email.

Stay safe with SHAZAM

For more tips on fraud, check out our SHAZAM Speakers Bureau. Our speakers provide expertise on topics ranging from elevating your fraud prevention strategies to the latest developments in the payments industry. Request a speaker for a keynote, general or breakout session.


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SHAZAM, Inc. and ITS, Inc. provide this blog for general informational purposes only. Our blog may be shared by a direct link wherein the content remains as originally presented and has not been altered. SHAZAM, Inc. and ITS, Inc. assume no responsibility for errors or omissions in the contents on the blog. By using this blog, reader agrees that the information published does not constitute nor is a substitute for legal advice which should only be sought from a qualified, licensed attorney. 


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