If / Then Scenarios for Taxpayers Who Get Phished

Especially this time of year, it is important for everyone to be aware that thieves often pose as the IRS to get taxpayers to turn over personal information in a scam called phishing.  Phishing is typically carried out through unsolicited emails or websites. The type of information thieves are looking for includes requests for PIN numbers, passwords or similar information for credit cards, banks and other financial accounts.  All business and individual taxpayers need to remember that the IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email or text messages to request personal or financial information.

Here’s what a taxpayer should do if they receive what appears to be a suspicious communication from the IRS:


If someone receives an email claiming to be from the IRS that contains a request for personal information…

Then the recipient should:

–Not reply.

–Not open any attachments. They can contain malicious code that may infect a computer or mobile phone.

–Not click on any links.

–Forward the email as-is to the IRS at phishing@irs.gov.

–Delete the original email.


If someone discovers a website that claims to be the IRS but the user suspects it is bogus…

Then they should:

–Send an email with the URL of the suspicious site to phishing@irs.gov.

–Include a subject line of “suspicious website.”

Text Message

If someone receives an unsolicited text message claiming to be from the IRS…

Then the recipient should:

–Not reply.

–Not open any attachments.

–Not click on any links.

–Forward the text as-is to the IRS at 202-552-1226. Standard text messaging rates apply.

–If possible, in a separate text, forward the originating number to the agency at 202-552-1226

–Delete the original text.

Taxpayers need to remain vigilant year-round to protect against identity theft.  Save yourself a lot of time and money by being positive a request is legitimate before giving out any personal information.


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