IRS impersonators have been around for a while. But as more people get to know their tricks, they’re switching it up. So instead of contacting you about a tax debt and making threats to get you to pay up, scammers may send you a text about a “tax rebate” or some other tax refund or benefit. Here’s what to know about the new twist.
The text messages may look legit and mention a “tax rebate” or “refund payment.” But no matter what the text says, it’s a scammer phishing for your information. And if you click on the link to claim “your refund,” you’re exposing yourself to identity theft or malware that the scammer could install on your phone.
If someone contacts you about a tax rebate or refund:
- Never click on links in unexpected texts. Don’t share personal information with anyone who contacts you out of the blue. Always use a website or phone number you know is real.
- Know that the IRS won’t call, email or text to contact you for the first time. They’ll always start by sending you a letter. If you want to confirm, call the IRS directly at 800-829-1040.
- Find the status of any pending refund on the IRS official website. Visit Where’s My Refund.
- Report unsolicited texts or emails claiming to be the IRS. Forward a screenshot or the email as an attachment to email@example.com.
If you clicked a link in one of these text or emails and shared personal information, file a report at IdentityTheft.gov to get a customized recovery plan based on what information you shared.
Even if you didn’t lose money to an IRS impersonator scams, tell us about it at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.
By Gema de las Heras, Consumer Education Specialist