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The IRS doesn't initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages, or social media channels to request personal or financial information. This includes requests for PIN numbers, passwords, or similar access information for credit cards, banks, or other financial accounts.

Per the IRS Suspicious emails and Identity Theft website:

What is phishing?

Phishing is a scam typically carried out through unsolicited email and/or websites that pose as legitimate sites and lure unsuspecting victims to provide personal and financial information.

Report all unsolicited email claiming to be from the IRS or an IRS-related function to phishing@irs.gov. If you've experienced any monetary losses due to an IRS-related incident, please report it to the Treasury Inspector General Administration (TIGTA) and file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) through their Complaint Assistant to make the information available to investigators.

What to do if you receive a suspicious IRS-related email

If you receive an email claiming to be from the IRS that contains a request for personal information, taxes associated with a large investment, inheritance or lottery.

  1. Don't reply.
  2. Don't open any attachments. They can contain malicious code that may infect your computer or mobile phone.
  3. Don't click on any links. Visit our identity protection page if you clicked on links in a suspicious email or website and entered confidential information.
  4. Forward - preferably with the full email headers - the email as-is to us at phishing@irs.gov. Don't forward scanned images because this removes valuable information.
  5. Delete the original email.

What to do if you receive a suspicious IRS-related telephone call

IRS impersonation telephone calls – as well as other types of unwanted calls (e.g., telemarketing robocalls, fake grants, tech support, sweepstakes winnings, etc.) remain popular scams. Blocking these types of calls is one strategy taxpayers should consider. Easy to install call blocking software for smartphones is available. While the IRS does not endorse any solution or brand, a limited sample of the available options are:

If you receive a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS but you suspect they are not an IRS employee:

  • View your tax account information online or review their payment options at IRS.gov to see the actual amount owed
  • If the caller is an IRS employee with a legitimate need to contact you, please call them back using the appropriate online resources

If the individual is not an IRS employee and does not have a legitimate need to contact you and regardless of whether you were a victim of the scam or not, report the incident to the appropriate law enforcement agencies:

  • If IRS-related, please report to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) via their online complaint form.
  • If Treasury-related, please report to the Office of the Treasury Inspector General (TIG) via OIGCounsel@oig.treas.gov

Please report IRS or Treasury-related fraudulent calls to phishing@irs.gov (Subject: IRS Phone Scam).

For any fraudulent call, after listening to the message, do not provide any information and hang up. When you report the fraudulent call, please include:

  • The telephone number of the caller (e.g., Caller ID)
  • The telephone number you were instructed to call back
  • A brief description of the communication

If possible, please include:

  • The employee name
  • The employee badge number
  • The exact date and time that you received the call(s)
  • The geographic location and time zone where you received the call if possible

In addition, please consider filing a complaint with the:

  • Federal Trade Commission (FTC) via their online complaint form
  • Federal Communications Commission (FCC) by visiting the Consumer Complaint Center. Consumers should select the “phone” form and then the “Unwanted Calls” under “Phone Issues”, and provide details of the call in the description of their complaint
  • Your local Attorney General’s office via their consumer complaint form (the reporting mechanism will vary by state)

Note that any link in the information above is updated each year automatically and will take you to the most recent version of the document at the time it is accessed.


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