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Top Three IRS Tax Scams

May 08, 2015  |   Tax Scams   |   Tags: , ,  

Taxpayers, the IRS and the Treasury lose millions of dollars to tax scammers every year. The best efforts of law enforcement agencies and the IRS have not been able to halt ongoing fraudulent activity. At the end of the day, taxpayers suffer because of the loss of money and the complications inherent in getting their issues corrected.

irs tax scams

The top three IRS tax scams in the country that taxpayers should protect themselves against are:

  1. 1. IRS Phone Scam
  2. 2. Phishing
  3. 3. Identity Theft


IRS Phone Scam

This year, the IRS phone scam replaced identity theft to take the top spot for scams. Millions of taxpayers have received phone calls from scammers impersonating IRS agents. The fraudsters often identify themselves as agents, providing personal taxpayer data to make the victim believe that they are with the IRS. Often, the taxpayer is harassed into sending money for supposed back taxes.

If a taxpayer questions what they’re being told on these calls, scammers use intimidation and threats of police action, license revocation, and even deportation. Scammers have been reported to target immigrants and the elderly.


Scammers prefer to use methods that allow them to remain anonymous. Phishing is a scamming technique where people are sent unsolicited emails, text messages, chat messages, etc. that claim to represent the interests of the IRS, a bank, or some other reputable entity.

With this façade, they ask the person to share their personal, tax and/or financial information. If the individual shares sensitive information with the scammers, the information is used to file fraudulent tax returns, gain access to bank accounts, and to conduct other financial crimes.

Scammers also use fake websites or web pages to steal people’s personal information. Taxpayers should be aware that the IRS does not initiate communication through email or over the phone. If there is an issue, the taxpayer will receive a notice through the mail.

Identity Theft

Scammers steal individuals’ personal and/or tax information to file fraudulent tax returns and claim huge refunds. They often use phishing to extract sensitive information from taxpayers to accomplish this goal. Identity theft is one of the most common types of tax scams.

Taxpayers should never share their personal, tax or financial information with any unverified persons or agencies. It is best to use established resources such as the IRS website –, the FTC website –, the Better Business Bureau, etc. to make inquiries and/or complaints.