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BBB offers tips to avoid tax scams

Published: March 20, 2024
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Tax scams are among the most stubborn cons out there. They reappear often, each time with a slightly different spin. The main theme is scammers posing as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in the U.S., trying to trick people into either paying up or sharing personal information. 

Remember that the IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text message or social media to request personal or financial information. This includes requests for PIN numbers, passwords or similar access information for credit cards, banks or other financial accounts.

Tips to avoid tax scams:

  • The best way to avoid tax identity theft is to file your taxes as early as possible. File before a scammer has the chance to use your information to file a fake return.
  • Jot down your identity protection PIN (IP PIN) from the IRS before you file your return. This is a six-digit number that, in addition to your Social Security number, confirms your identity. It’s important to note that you can’t opt out once you get an IP PIN. 
  • Only deal with trustworthy tax preparation services. For many people, major life changes, business ownership or simply a lack of knowledge about the ever-changing tax laws make finding a trustworthy tax preparer a good idea. That said, not all tax preparers have the same level of experience and training. BBB has a list of reputable tax preparers to consider at


More from the BBB

For more information about scam alerts from the BBB, click here. If you suspect you’ve been scammed, submit a report to the BBB Scam Tracker to warn others and enable the BBB to investigate.