Tax season is here and that means scammers want your refunds

26 January 2024- Attorney General Michelle Henry is warning Pennsylvanians to be aware and stay cautious of Internal Revenue Service (IRS) imposter scams during the upcoming tax season.

Many scammers use the tax filing period to impersonate the IRS to obtain personal information or solicit money. Be on the lookout for unsolicited text messages, emails, or phone calls appearing to be from the IRS demanding immediate payment or your personal information.

“It is that time of year — for scammers to take advantage of tax filers by posing as federal government agents,” Attorney General Henry said. “Scams are getting more and more sophisticated, so be extra careful with whom you engage and how you provide sensitive information. Remember that the scammers’ intent is to make targets feel pressured and even frightened.”

Scammers will try to dupe taxpayers into believing that back taxes are owed immediately, or that a tax rebate is due. This year, scammers are also targeting college students with attempts to scare students into believing that a federal student tax has not been paid, and is due immediately.

The Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General and the IRS both strongly recommend that Pennsylvanians file their taxes early before scammers have the chance to use any personal information and file a fake tax return.

Please remember that the IRS:

  • Does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or phone calls to request personal or financial information (generally the IRS first mails a paper bill to a person that owes taxes);
  • Will never demand a specific type of payment using cash, crypto-currency, a prepaid debit card, gift card or a wire transfer;
  • Will not leave a pre-recorded, urgent or threatening message on an answer system; and
  • Will not immediately threaten to sue or arrest you.

Other tips to stay protected:

  • Never click on any unsolicited communication claiming to be the IRS as it may have dangerous software or malware contained within the email or text message;
  • Understand that scammers spoof phone numbers, and a phone call appearing to be from the IRS does not mean it is a legitimate call;
  • If you don’t owe taxes, do not provide any information to the caller and hang up immediately and report the call to phishing@irs.gov. If you think you owe taxes, call the IRS at 800-829-1040 or review your tax account at IRS.gov.
  • Filing taxes early stops scammers from using your information and filing.

Consumers with any questions or feel that they have been victimized by this scam may submit a complaint with the Office of Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection by visiting the website, https://www.attorneygeneral.gov/submit-a-complaint/scams-complaint/, by emailing scams@attorneygeneral.gov or by calling the office at 1-800-441-2555.