Got a text about money from the IRS? Each year, thousands of Americans fall prey to scammers posing as the IRS. Scammers can call, send emails, or leave “urgent” texts claiming to be from the IRS or another government agency, like the Taxpayer Advocate Service or the Bureau of Tax Enforcement. The calls usually demand that you pay a fake tax bill by sending cash through prepaid debit cards, gift cards or wire transfers. They may also threaten you with arrest, lawsuits and other legal action if you don’t send money right away. In addition, scammers can impersonate IRS employees and use fake names and badge numbers to appear official.
How does the IRS notify you?
The IRS is warning taxpayers about a new twist on an old trick. Criminals are exploiting the coronavirus pandemic to target consumers with phishing scams via email and text messages that pretend to be from the IRS, or even from long-lost relatives. They’re also targeting those looking for Covid-19 relief measures like stimulus checks and unemployment benefits.
The IRS says that it never initiates contact with taxpayers through email, text or social media regarding bills or refunds. It also never requests sensitive information, such as Social Security numbers or bank account or credit card details, via these channels. Taxpayers should be wary of clicking on links or opening attachments from suspicious emails, texts or social media posts claiming to be from the IRS as they may surreptitiously download malware.