Got a Text About Money From the IRS?

Got a text about money from the IRS As filing season heats up, criminals are using text messages and social media to target taxpayers with phishing and smishing scams, the Internal Revenue Service warned. These crooks steal personal information or try to trick people into handing over their tax refunds.

What questions does IRS ask to verify identity?

In one scam, a caller posing as an IRS agent calls and claims you or your business owes taxes. The crook then demands you pay a bogus bill immediately. They may tell you to send cash, use a prepaid debit card or wire money. They also may threaten to arrest you or blacklist your Social Security number if you don’t pay right away. The IRS will never contact you by phone to ask for personal or financial information.

Another version of the scam involves a fake “Bureau of Tax Enforcement.” The crook calls victims to claim that the IRS is about to suspend or cancel their Social Security number due to unpaid taxes. The crook will even provide an official-sounding name, phone number and letterhead for the alleged agency.

The crook then asks the victim to buy gift cards or other prepaid debit cards, and to share the receipt numbers. Often, the text will include a link to a phishing website. IRS officials warn that if you’re asked to pay with gift cards or other prepaid cards, cash app, Venmo, or wire money, it’s a red flag that the IRS is not involved. Also, the IRS never contacts anyone by email or social media to demand payment or personal information.