The Attorney General provides Consumer Alerts to inform the public of unfair, misleading, or deceptive business practices, and to provide information and guidance on other issues of concern. Consumer alerts are not legal advice, legal authority, or a binding legal opinion from the Department of Attorney General.
Anybody contacting you claiming to be from the IRS and asking you for personal identifying information is a crook. Every year the IRS issues warnings about rebate or other scams being perpetrated by con artists claiming to work for the agency. Here is a list of things the IRS will NEVER do:
IRS phone scams are not new, and like death and taxes, annual tax scams are now on the list of life’s certainties. Phone tax scams started getting reported in 2013, and by 2014, tax officials recognized IRS phone scams as the “largest tax scam ever,” conning thousands of victims out of more than $26.5 million. When tax season hits, IRS phone scams top the list of calls to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division.
IRS phone and email scams join the growing number of popular electronic scams committed from a remote location, often overseas. Committing these in cyberspace or over a phone, tax fraudsters strike quickly and can cover, erase, or leave no tracks before the taxpayer knows they’ve been duped.
The goal of these crooks is to steal money, take control of personal computers, or commit identity theft. IRS scams enable con artists to get bank account information, Social Security numbers, or credit and debit card details. These tech-savvy crooks can spoof caller ID to make their calls look like they are coming from an official number or location.
Phone tax scams come in many varieties. Regardless of how good or threatening a particular pitch sounds, don’t fall for it. Some recently reported IRS phone scams include:
Email is another popular method of choice for IRS scams. Common email tricks used by these crooks include:
Some current IRS email scams involve: false claims that you are due a refund; offers to track your refund; bogus notices that your tax return will be audited; and fake links to tax law changes. Whatever the pitch, all these scams have the same goal: to lure you to give them your personal information. Don’t fall for it. Remember, the IRS will not email you and ask for your personal information.
First, if you don’t owe taxes, hang up immediately or delete the email without opening it. Report any suspicious solicitation to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration hotline at 800-366-4484.
If you do owe on your taxes, call the IRS at 800-829-1040 if you need federal tax assistance.
You may forward emails to firstname.lastname@example.org, the address established by the IRS to receive, track, and shut down these scams. Detailed instructions for how to send the emails are available through the IRS. You may not receive an individual response to your email because of the volume of reports the IRS receives each day.
You may also report misuse of the IRS name, logo, forms, or other IRS property using the Treasury Inspector General's website or hotline at 800-366-4484.
Remember that the only genuine IRS website is www.irs.gov. You should never get to this site using a link embedded into an email - instead enter the address in your browser. A website link embedded into an email can easily take you to a fake site.
An advance refund loan is a loan based on money you are expecting to get as a tax refund. These loans can be legitimate but lenders charge huge rates of interest and fees. Sending your return in on time will sometimes get your money is just a few weeks, without a hefty price.
Consumers may contact the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division at:
Consumer Protection Division
P.O. Box 30213
Lansing, MI 48909
Toll free: 877-765-8388
www.mi.gov/ag (online complaint form)