Alert
Close

Help Decide the Future of Aging. Join the White House’s Live Stream Tomorrow From Seattle. Learn more

Scam Alert

Tax Audit E-mail Hoax

IRS never sends audit notices by e-mail

It’s bad news any time you get an audit notice from the Internal Revenue Service. But it could be even worse if you’re notified by e-mail—because that e-mail is a fraud.     

The perpetrators of these messages want to trick you into revealing your financial information by alerting you that you’re about to be audited. Unlike most phishing scams that send out hundreds of thousands of e-mails aimed at wangling personal information from potential victims, this ruse is personalized to get your attention: The message may address you by name.

“The name in the text of the message lends it more legitimacy,” says IRS spokesperson Michelle Lamishaw. “This is something we normally haven’t seen in other e-mail scams.” And that has the IRS concerned because people tend to get nervous about IRS audits, prompting recipients to follow directions in the e-mail and leading to identity theft.

The e-mail tells you to click on a link to complete forms needed for the audit. The forms ask for personal information, such as your Social Security number, and financial data such as bank account numbers.  Even if you don’t fill out the forms, merely clicking on the link can download a malicious code on a computer, giving crooks access to important private information.

“The IRS does not send e-mails to taxpayers notifying them of audits,” Lamishaw says.

If you get such an e-mail, forward the complete message to phishing@irs.gov so the agency can investigate. The IRS doesn’t send unsolicited e-mails to taxpayers. 

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Advertisement

The Cheap Life

Jeff Yeager Cheap Life Ultimate Cheapskate AARP YouTube web series save money

Catch the latest episode of The Cheap Life starring Jeff Yeager, AARP's Ultimate Cheapskate. Watch

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Credit safeguards with AARP® Identity Theft Protection from TrustedID®.

AARP Credit card from Chase

Members can get cash back rewards on purchases with the AARP® Credit Card from Chase.

Man using cell phone outdoors

Members save on monthly service & usage fees and get free activation with Consumer Cellular.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! AARP members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.

Advertisement

Advance your skills. Transform your career.

Explore your learning possibilities.