The IRS will not send out unsolicited email to taxpayers, or any other kind of electronic communication for that matter. So beware if something like that shows up in your “inbox”.
Last Oct there was even a phone scam where taxpayers were threatened with jail, suspension of various licenses, or deportation if they didn’t pay back taxes promptly with prepaid debit cards or wire transfers. Some individuals have even setup phony government web sites to encourage people to put in personal information that the scammers can latter use for identity theft.
Use your street smarts! A real government official won’t mind putting the request in writing. And truthfully, a real government official would have sent you a letter in the first place.
The IRS offers several suggestions for taxpayers to help protect themselves against scams and identity theft:
•Don’t carry your Social Security card or any documents that include your Social Security number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).
•Don’t give a business your SSN or ITIN just because they ask. Give it only when required.
•Protect your financial information.
•Check your credit report every 12 months.
•Secure personal information in your home.
•Protect your personal computers by using firewalls and anti-spam/virus software, updating security patches and changing passwords for Internet accounts.
•Don’t give personal information over the phone, through the mail or on the Internet unless you have initiated the contact and are sure of the recipient.