Tax season is now in full swing, and so are the spam attempts. We receive spam emails and calls every day, some more convincing than others. But there are a few things to remember before ever giving out your personal information. The IRS has a strict means of communication, so if you receive an email claiming to be an IRS agent, it is a tax scam.

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Here are five things the scammers often do but the IRS will not do. Any one of these five things is a sign of a scam. The IRS does not:

  1. Call you to demand immediate payment. We will not call about taxes you owe without first mailing you a bill.
  2. Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the chance to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
  3. Require you to use a certain payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.
  4. Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
  5. Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement to have you arrested for not paying.

Remember, the IRS currently does not use unsolicited email, text messages or any social media to discuss your personal tax issues. For more information on reporting tax scams, go to and type “scam” in the search box.

It is a good rule of thumb to guard your personal information. If you owe taxes, you are probably aware of that. So look for a letter from the IRS in the mail or call the IRS directly (800-829-1040) and inquire if you’ve received a phone call that you feel may be valid.

Your safest bet is to be a skeptic