WASHINGTON, D.C. (WPRI) — If you get an email that is supposedly reminding you to file for your tax refund, flag it as spam and delete it immediately, the Internal Revenue Service said Thursday.
The IRS does not send unsolicited emails and never emails taxpayers about the status of refunds, the agency’s Michael T. Devine said in a news release.
The fake emails appear to be impersonating the IRS and contain a “temporary password” or “one-time password” to access files to submit a refund. But when taxpayers try to access it, it’s a malicious file.
The links in the emails pretend to be IRS.gov and infect computers with malware that can allow scammers to gain access to victims’ computers or track their every keystroke to obtain passwords and other personal data.
In general, if a taxpayer owes taxes, the IRS will first mail a bill; anyone contacting you by telephone or email, demanding immediate payment—especially by a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer—is likely a criminal.
If you are approached in a manner like this, you can email the IRS at email@example.com to report it.