If you receive a call or an email from the IRS stating you're in trouble, what should you do? The answer: nothing. The IRS does not call or email citizens.

The most common scams include:

  • Telephone impersonators claiming to be IRS employees. You are told you owe money and need to pay immediately. You might be threatened with arrest or suspension of license, and callers can be hostile. They might leave an urgent callback message.
  • Email phishing schemes. The real IRS does not send taxpayers unsolicited email. Beware of fake websites that look real. Never go to a website by clicking a link in an email. Always go directly to a website using your own web browser and address.
  • Falsely claiming the ability to get you a greater refund. Be careful of tax preparers that expect you to sign a blank return, charge a fee based on the refund, or promise an incredible refund before even knowing your tax situation.

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A lot of effort has been placed in stopping taxpayer identity theft and the use of stolen data to file fraudulent tax refunds. The efforts have resulted in a 65-percent decrease of theft cases since 2015. IRS partnership efforts with private security firms and tax preparers under their Security Summit initiative continue to fight the ever-changing threat environment and decrease the fraud threat.

Learn more about scam matters, and how to report a scam or identity theft, on IRS.gov.