Tax scams and consumer alerts
Phishing email with the subject line “Mails on Hold!” targets tax professionals (12/2016)
Some tax professionals have received emails appearing to be from the IRS or the IRS’ e-Services team with the subject line “Mails on Hold!” These emails may include references to IRS personnel or PTINs, but they are not from the IRS.
If you receive an email with this subject line, don’t select any links or open any attachments contained in these emails. Please report the scam attempt using the IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting tool (on the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration website) and the FTC Complaint Assistant tool (on the Federal Trade Commission website). If the email appears to be from e-Services, you should also contact the e-Services helpdesk at 1 866-255-0654.
Fake IRS bills request payment for money owed under the Affordable Care Act (11/2016)
Some taxpayers have received fake IRS bills as attachments in emails and through the U.S mail. These fake bills resemble real IRS CP2000 notices.
These bogus notices usually claim money is owed as a result of the Affordable Care Act and ask recipients to make out a check to “I.R.S.” Real CP2000 notices request that checks be made out to the “United States Treasury.”
If you receive or believe you have received a fake CP2000 notice, visit the IRS at Beware of Fake IRS Tax Bill Notices to learn what to do, or visit IRS and Security Summit Partners Warn of Fake Tax Bills for additional details. You can also see CP2000 notice to view a real IRS CP2000 notice.
Westchester County residents are the targets in a new phone scam (9/2016)
Phone scammers are impersonating Tax Department employees and calling Westchester County residents to demand payment for fake back taxes. Seniors should take special care, as the scammers are manipulating caller ID to display legitimate Tax Department phone numbers. If you receive a call from the Tax Department's fraud hotline—either 518-457-5181 or 518-457-0578—do not answer the call. The Tax Department will never contact you from the fraud hotline.
To read the full article about this scam, visit Scam targeting Westchester residents.
Tax professionals—scammers mimic software providers in new phishing email (8/2016)
Tax professionals are the targets in a new phishing email. In the email, scammers pose as tax software providers and ask recipients to download and install a software update using a bogus link. Downloading the requested "software update" allows scammers to track activity on the device, thereby accessing sensitive information, such as Social Security and credit card numbers.
If you’re a tax professional and think you’ve received this or a similar phishing email, or you'd like to read the entire IRS release, visit the IRS at New phishing scheme mimics software providers.
For general information on how to report fraud, a scam, or instance of identity theft to the Tax Department, see Report fraud, scams, and identity theft.
IRS impersonators demand payment for nonexistent “federal student tax” (5/2016)
Phone scammers are targeting students and demanding payment for a bogus federal student tax. These scammers, who pose as IRS employees, threaten to report students to the police if they do not wire money immediately to the scammer to pay the fake tax. If you receive a phone call where you are asked to pay the federal student tax, hang up immediately. Report the call online using the IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting tool, or over the phone at 1 800-366-4484.
For more information about this scam, visit the IRS at News and events.
Payroll and HR professionals—phishing scammers target taxpayers’ W-2s (3/2016)
Cybercriminals, posing as company executives, are emailing payroll and HR professionals to request lists of employees and their personal information. These emails may appear legitimate because they contain the name of the company’s actual chief executive officer; however, if you receive such an email, do not include any payroll data, such as Forms W-2 and social security numbers, in a response.
If you are an employer that has been a victim of this scam and, in response, released any payroll data, such as W-2 information and social security numbers, see Guidance for employers affected by a W-2 phishing scam for instructions.
For more information about the details contained in these emails, visit the IRS at IRS alerts payroll and HR professionals to phishing scheme involving W-2s.
Phone scammers pose as Treasury representatives (2/2016)
Phone scammers, posing as New York State and US Treasury agents, may call to ask for your banking information and $250, promising in return a larger sum of cash to come at a later date. If you receive a phone call asking for your money and information, do not provide either; contact the Tax Department or IRS to report these phone calls.
For more information about this scam, visit NY.Gov at Governor Cuomo warns consumers.
New email phishing scams (1/2016)
New scams ask IRS e-services users to update their e-services information through email. E-services will never ask you to do this; the IRS will not initiate contact with you through email, text message, or social media to request your personal or financial information. If you receive an email or requests like this, do not select any links in the email or take any other action.
Visit the IRS at Helpful resources: Publications, articles, YouTube videos and other identity theft related outreach for more information about how to protect yourself.
- Tax tips to avoid scams
- IRS at Tax scams/consumer alerts
- Use of email and anti-phishing policy
- Report fraud, scams, and identity theft
- IRS at Identity protection: prevention, detection, and victim assistance