Recognize

Tax scams happen when someone files a fake income tax return with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) using your personal information to create a refund that is not paid to you.

If you think you have experienced a tax scam, we recommend that you act immediately by following our guidelines below, and then proceed to our ReportRecover, and Reinforce sections for further assistance.

Some Immediate Action Steps to Take

Report

Click Here to Report Your Incident to the FBI IC3

Reporting cybercrime incidents to the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) via the link above is very important! The more national reporting data that is collected, the better the chance law enforcement has to catch the criminals and decrease online crime. Although the FBI does not resolve individual complaints directly, they will make your report available to local, state and other law enforcement partners. FAQs about IC3 reporting can be found here. Please read the FBI/IC3 privacy policy here. (If you believe that you’ve received a phishing email, please forward the email directly to reportphishing@apwg.org.)

Recover

These resources have been gathered, selected and vetted to help simplify the process of recovering after a cybercrime incident has taken place. You may need to contact organizations outside FightCybercrime.org. Results will vary depending on your circumstances.

Reinforce

Once you have notified the appropriate organizations and you are on the road to recovery, it is time to reinforce your cybersecurity using these resources and tools.

Implement Preventative Measures

  • Don’t share your Social Security number unless absolutely necessary — provide alternative information when possible.
  • Avoid giving out your Social Security number over the phone unless you initiated the contact or have already established trust.
  • Be sure websites are secure before submitting your Social Security number or personal information. Find out how to spot a fake website.
  • Closely monitor and review your credit reports and accounts on a regular basis. For a free credit report go to annualcreditreport.com.
  • Be aware that the Internal Revenue Service does not contact taxpayers by email, text messages or social media channels to request personal or financial information. The first form of contact from the Internal Revenue Service will always come through the mail.
  • Create strong passwords. Learn how from ConnectSafely.org.
  • Always enable a two factor authentication (2FA) on your email, social media and other online accounts – which requires an additional code to log in.
  • Download our Six Steps to Better Security PDF.

Community Resources