In Sunday's column, we wrote about the late start to IRS tax refunds. But there's another side of tax refunds the IRS wants you to know about: scams.
With tax season underway, it's warning taxpayers to be wary of bogus IRS emails, texts, calls and letters that attempt to trick individuals into giving out personal financial information. Sometimes the scam artists send letters about a supposed refund. Other times they email using a fake website to try and get you to disclose financial information.
To avoid getting scammed, here are some IRS reminders:
1. The IRS never contacts taxpayers by email, texting or social media to request personal or financial information. Nor will it ever ask for private financial information like PIN numbers, passwords or personal access codes to credit card or bank accounts.
2. Be wary of phony IRS websites that may look like the real thing. The official IRS website is www.irs.gov. Do not be fooled by sites claiming to be the IRS but ending in .com, .net, .org or anything other than .gov.
3. If you get a suspicious email, do not reply or click on any attachments or links. Instead, forward it to: firstname.lastname@example.org. (Put "suspicious website" in the subject line.)
4. If you receive a phone call from someone claiming to be an IRS official but you're skeptical, ask for their name or IRS badge number. Contact the IRS at (800) 829-1040 to ask if the IRS has a legitimate need to contact you. Do the same if you get a fax or letter that doesn't seem legitimate.
5. Visit the IRS website for more details on how to report scams and examples of IRS fraud.