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Tax Tips From The IRS – Staying Safe Online

The Internal Revenue Service reminds families, teens, and senior citizens about the continued importance of protecting personal and financial information (.pdf) online. Here are a few suggestions that can make a difference for vulnerable groups to potential dangers to protect their personal data:

• Phishing emails, threatening phone calls and text from thieves posing as the IRS or legitimate organizations pose ongoing risks. Do not click on links or download attachments from unknown or suspicious emails.

• Be careful not to reveal too much personal information. Keeping data secure and only providing what is necessary minimizes online exposure to scammers and criminals. Birthdates, addresses, age, financial information such as bank account and social security numbers are among things that should not be shared freely.

• Connections to a public Wi-Fi networks is convenient but it may not be safe from hackers and cybercriminals who can easily intercept personal information. Always use security software with firewall and anti-virus protections.

• Remember, to encrypt sensitive files such as tax records stored on computers or when sending through emails to your accountants.

Remember, the IRS does not use text messages or social media to discuss personal tax issues, such as those involving tax refunds, stimulus payments or tax bills. For more information, visit the Tax Scams and Consumers Alerts page on

Remember, criminals can fake or spoof caller ID numbers to appear to be anywhere in the country Scammers can even spoof an IRS office phone number or the numbers of various local, state, federal, or tribal government agencies.

If a taxpayer receives an IRS or Treasury-related phone call, but doesn’t owe taxes and has no reason to think they do, they should:

• Not give out any information. Hang up immediately.

• Contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration to report the IRS impersonation scam call. Report the caller ID and callback number to the IRS by sending it to The subject line should include “IRS Phone Scam.” Report the call to the Federal Trade Commission.

If a taxpayer wants to verify what taxes they owe the IRS, they should:

• View tax account information online at

• Review their payment options.

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