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If / Then Scenarios for Taxpayers Who Get Phished

My colleagues and I have been talking about this topic recently, together with a recent event with one of my clients I thought I would take a moment to let you know, or in some cases perhaps remind you, that the agency (IRS) does not initiate contact with taxpayers by phone, email or text messages to request personal or financial information. This includes requests for PIN numbers, passwords or similar information for credit cards, banks and other financial accounts.

I believe this is important for everyone to bear in mind because thieves often pose as the IRS to get taxpayers to turn over personal information in a scam called phishing. Phishing is typically carried out through unsolicited emails or websites.

Here’s what you should do if you see a suspicious communication from the IRS:

Via Email If you receive an email claiming to be from the IRS that contains a request for personal information… Then you should:

1) Not reply.

2) Not open any attachments. They can contain malicious code that may infect a computer or mobile phone.

3) Not click on any links.

4) Forward the email as-is to the IRS at

5) Delete the original email.

Via Website

If someone discovers a website that claims to be the IRS but the user suspects it is bogus… Then they should:

1) Send an email with the URL of the suspicious site to

2) Include a subject line of “suspicious website.”

Via Text Message If you receive an unsolicited text message claiming to be from the IRS… Then you should:

1) Not reply.

2) Not open any attachments.

3) Not click on any links.

4) Forward the text as-is to the IRS at 202-552-1226. Standard text messaging rates will apply.

5) If possible, in a separate text, forward the originating number to the agency at 202-552-1226.

6) Delete the original text.

If you click on a link in a phishing email or text, or on a site they believe is bogus, please visit the identity protection page for more information on steps to take to protect your information.

As always, if you are one of my clients and receive a communication by US mail from the service concerning your taxes please contact me first before acting on it.


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