It seems everyone communicates by email these days, even many government agencies. Many people do not give it a second thought when they receive an email from the IRS stating that the agency wants some more information. But those people would be wrong to trust that email, because the IRS does not communicate with taxpayers by email! These emails are a “phishing” scam that seeks to obtain personal information from the taxpayer. The criminals that perpetuate these schemes use the information to commit several different types of crimes – they may use your social security number for identity theft, they may access your bank account and transfer money to their own accounts or they may file a tax return using your name and false information to request a big refund check.
You can protect yourself by not responding to these phishing emails. You may report the fraudulent emails to the IRS at email@example.com.
This is an example of a fake email from the criminals pretending to be the IRS. The email is from a false “@irs.gov” email address and includes an actual brick and mortar IRS address in Maryland. It looks official but is a phishing attempt to steal your personal information: