Phishing Season

According to Nancy Olson from the Taxpayer Advocate service, 2010 was a record year for identity theft and fraudulent electronically filed tax returns. DON’T become just another victim of phishing! Follow this advice and keep safe.

Phishing Emails

You simply will not receive any emails from the IRS. The IRS does not communicate like that. If you receive any phishing emails claiming to be from the IRS, follow these directions.
  1. Don't reply.
  2. Don't open attachments.
  3. Don't click on links.
  4. Forward the email without any changes to
  5. After the email is forwarded, delete the original message received.

Phishing Websites

There are some phishing websites that claim to be the IRS, so that they can get your personal information. The only officially IRS website is If it doesn’t say that within the URL, you definitely shouldn’t be handing out your Social Security Number or banking information.
  1. Do not provide any personal information.
  2. Send the URL to

Phishing Phone Calls

It is rare when the IRS calls a taxpayer. In fact, the only time you should be receiving phone calls is when you already have spoken with a revenue officer or agent, and are working on a tax issue with him or her. If you ever receive a possible phishing phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, please follow the directions below.
  1. Ask for a call back number and employee badge number.
  2. Call IRS to determine it was a legitimate IRS employee.
  3. Do not give any info over the phone until you are sure it is an IRS employee.
  4. If he or she is a fraud, contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at (800) 366-4484.

Phishing Paper Letters

Whenever you get a letter from the IRS, the first thing you should do is look it up on the IRS website. If it doesn’t look like anything on there, you could be looking at phishing bait. Sometimes, a letter just won’t feel right either. Any time you receive what looks like an IRS letter asking for personal information, follow the instructions before doing anything else.
  1. Call IRS to determine if it is a legitimate IRS letter.
  2. If it is not legitimate, contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at (800) 366-4484.
If your situation doesn't fit any of these, email to find the answer to your phishing questions.