The IRS has compiled their annual Dirty Dozen list for more than 20 years as a way of alerting and raising awareness to taxpayers about scams and schemes. Specifically, the IRS has announced suspicious communications in all forms designed to trick, surprise, or scare someone into responding before thinking is the No. 7 on the 2022 “Dirty Dozen” Scams Warning List. They are warning everyone to be on the lookout for bogus calls, texts, emails and posts online to gain trust or steal.*
Here are common scams the IRS continues to see and what to do if you become involved in one:
Text message scams: Messages sent to taxpayers’ smartphones, referencing COVID-19 or “Stimulus payments.” The message often includes bogus links claiming to be the IRS website or other online tools. If you receive a suspicious text message appearing to be from the IRS, do not click on or open links. Report by taking a screenshot of the text message and emailing it to email@example.com. Make sure to include:
- Date, time, and time zone of when the message was received
- Phone number that received the text message
Email phishing scams: The IRS initiates most contacts through regular mail. They do not initiate contact by email to request personal or financial information. If a taxpayer receives an unsolicited fraudulent email appearing to be either from the IRS or a program closely related, report by email as an attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Phone Scams: The IRS does not leave pre-recorded, urgent or threatening messages. In this scam, victims may be told that a warrant will be issued for their arrest if they do not call back, or other verbal threats. Scammers can also fake or “spoof” a caller ID number to appear to be from the IRS office, preventing taxpayers from being able to verify the caller’s true number. It’s important to know that the IRS will never:
- Call to demand immediate payment using a specific pay method, such as a prepaid debit card, gift card, or wire transfer.
- Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
- Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement to arrest a taxpayer.
- Demand taxes be paid without giving the taxpayer the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed.
If you don’t owe taxes and have no reason to think you do, do not giving out any information, hang up the phone, and report to the IRS.