Financial Success - Tax Scams

Tax Scam

How to Avoid Tax Preparation Scams

As we move into tax season, it’s important to stay vigilant and guard yourself against an influx of con artists.

Here are some of the best ways to protect yourself from tax-related scams:

  • Don’t respond to aggressive phone calls. Many scammers will call and pose as Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agents, demanding you pay them immediately through wire transfer or gift card. Some even threaten to arrest you if you don’t pay up. If you receive one of these calls, remain calm and hang up.

  • Watch out for email phishing attacks. Another scam tactic is to send fake emails, supposedly from the IRS, that mention a bill or refund that you didn’t expect. They may ask you to send them information like your Social Security number or click on a suspicious link.

  • File your taxes early. Many fraudsters will use stolen information to file tax returns as soon as possible so that they can claim a refund. The earlier you file, the less of a chance there is for an identity thief to file in your name.

  • Verify your tax preparer. Imposters may also pose as tax preparers, charging large fees for their “services” while directing your refund into their accounts. If you decide to hire a tax preparer, ask for references– or use someone recommended by a person you trust. You can also find a verified tax preparer by using the Federal Tax Return Preparers directory on

  • Keep an eye on URLs. If you’re filing your taxes online, be cautious and pay attention to the URL in your browser. Scammers will try to lure you to a fake website that encourages you to input your personal information. If the URL seems strange, has misspelled words, or an uncommon domain, stay away. Common domains are .com or .gov.

If you receive any calls, texts, or emails from someone claiming to be the IRS, do not give them any of your personal information. The IRS will never email you out of the blue, threaten to arrest you, or ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone. Typically, they will mail you a bill first if you owe any taxes.

Report scams to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration by calling 1-800-366-4484 or visiting