Don’t trust any texts or emails that appear to be from the IRS. They aren’t from the government.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently sent out a consumer alert to warn Americans about IRS impersonators.
Fraudsters are sending texts and emails to taxpayers, claiming to be the IRS. The messages are about tax refunds or tax refund e-statements, but the senders’ goal is to steal your identity.
These messages may look credible, but the FTC is clear in warning taxpayers that the IRS will never contact anyone by email, text message or social media.
Scammers depend on victims clicking on the links included in their messages. The fraudsters’ messages tell victims these links lead to information about their tax refunds or forms they must complete to receive their tax refunds.
But when clicked, these links may ask for personal information, which the scammers then use for nefarious purposes. The links could also install harmful software, known as malware, onto victims’ devices and steal their personal information via their devices.
The FTC urges Americans to:
- Never click links. Scammers can use them to steal your identity.
- Visit Where’s My Refund, an official IRS webpage, if you need to check on the status of your tax refund.
- Tell your family and friends about this scam to help protect them as well.
If you’ve already clicked a link from an email or text message sent under the guise of the IRS, or sent personal or financial information, report it at IdentityTheft.gov. You’ll receive a customized and free identity theft recovery plan.