Beware of Tax Scams

February 08, 2021

As tax season approaches, be on guard for tax scams, including phony IRS messages and phone calls. Protect yourself by using caution when viewing emails, responding to telephone calls, or getting advice on tax issues. Tax scams happen every year and can take many different forms.

From the IRS' website - The real IRS WILL NOT:

  • Call you to demand immediate payment. The IRS will not call you if you owe taxes without first sending you a bill in the mail.
  • Demand that you pay taxes and not allow you to question or appeal the amount that you owe.
  • Require that you pay your taxes a certain way. For instance, require that you pay with a prepaid debit card.
  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
  • Threaten to bring in police or other agencies to arrest you for not paying.
  • Use unsolicited email, text messages or any social media to discuss your personal tax issue.

To protect your information:

  • Don't respond to scare tactics. Contact the IRS directly to verify phone calls, electronic or paper messages.
  • Don't open files, click links, or call numbers in unsolicited emails, text messages, IMs, Facebook postings, tweets, etc.
  • Always verify the identity of a person asking you for information, money, or access to your accounts, computer, etc.
  • If you can't verify something is legitimate, ignore, delete it, or contact the person/organization who supposedly sent it to ask.
  • Never - ever - ever - reveal your password!!
  • Keep all machines clean: Having updated software on all devices that connect to the internet is critical.
  • File your tax return as soon as possible! The IRS only accepts one tax return per Social Security number. If the file is yours and it’s in early, it becomes impossible for a fraudster to submit another return with your personal information.
  • Report crimes and criminal activity to the campus Police Department at (831) 459- 2231 or provide anonymous tips at
  • Forward IRS-related scam emails to Report IRS-impersonation telephone calls at IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting.

See the IRS' website for current tax scams and consumer alerts