Tax filers, don't worry if you get a phone call, a text, or an e-mail from the Internal Revenue Service.
It won't be from the IRS. It will be a scam artist.
"We always tell our clients . . . the IRS never e-mails and they never text you and they don't call out of the blue," said Larry Orr, director in the tax department of CBIZ MHM in Plymouth Meeting.
"These are scams looking to steal your information."
One client received a phone call supposedly from the IRS "threatening to put him in jail if he didn't pay right away," Orr said. "The general public is afraid of the IRS. People are terrified. When they hear that, they think, 'I have to get them away from me.' And they shouldn't be [afraid]."
Delete the e-mail, block the text, hang up the phone and don't give out your Social Security number.
The IRS even maintains a "dirty dozen" list of scams. Among them are:
Phone scams: Aggressive and threatening phone calls from criminals impersonating IRS agents remain a threat to taxpayers. The IRS has seen a surge of these phone scams in recent months, which threaten police arrest, deportation, tax liens, and license revocation.
Phishing: Also known as fake e-mails or websites looking to steal personal information. The IRS will not send you an e-mail about a bill or refund. Don't click on an e-mail claiming to be from the IRS. It's likely a scam to steal your personal information.
Identity theft: Be especially on guard for identity theft around tax time. Criminals love to file fraudulent returns using someone else's Social Security number. It's gotten so bad even TurboTax had to halt some state tax filings this season due to rampant fraud.
If you're a target, call the IRS at 800-829-1040. If you don't owe taxes or have no reason to believe you do, report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) at 800-366-4484 or online (www.tigta.gov).
Also, notify the Federal Trade Commission at www.consumer.gov/idtheft or call 877-438-4338.
If you think you're a victim of identity theft affecting a Pennsylvania tax return, report it to:
The Pennsylvania Department of Revenue at 717-787-8201.
The Pennsylvania Attorney General's Bureau of Consumer Protection at 800-441-2555.
New Jersey residents: Call the New Jersey Division of Taxation's Customer Service Center at 609-292-6400.