Take a deep breath before responding to any communication about your tax return – and verify that the query is actually from the IRS. Why the need for caution? The contact may be from a bogus IRS agent who intends to steal your financial identity.

The scam can take many forms and often starts with an official-looking e-mail complete with IRS logo that warns you of a problem with your return. To correct the situation, you’re instructed to click on an embedded link. The link sends you to a website that asks a series of personal questions. Answers you supply can be used to file fraudulent tax returns or extract money from your bank accounts.

Another tactic is a phone call from a fake IRS agent demanding information. Sometimes the phone call will follow a recent e-mail, intended to make the communication seem legitimate. The caller might even know the last four digits of your social security number.

Here is what you need to remember: The IRS will never initiate contact with you by e-mail.

How can you stay safe from scams? If you receive an out-of-the-blue email purporting to be from the IRS, do not click any link or reply in any way. If you receive a phone call about your tax return, do not provide any personal details. Simply note the caller’s information and disconnect.

If you want to report a scam, here is the web address with the information.

The specific report line with instructions to report phone calls is:
If you receive a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS but you suspect they are not an IRS employee …
1.  Record the employee’s name, badge number, call back number, and caller ID, if available.
2.  Call 1-800-366-4484Â FREE to determine if the caller is an IRS employee with a legitimate need to contact you.

If the person calling you is an IRS employee, call them back.
If not, report the incident to TIGTA and at phishing@irs.gov (Subject: ‘IRS Phone Scam’)

If you still need assistance, please feel free to contact us. We’ll help you determine if any further action is recommended.