McAfee’s Guide to IRS & Tax Season Scams

This year’s top tax scams come in many shapes and sizes and can be tricky to identify — which is precisely why we’ve created this guide, to help you stop these scams in their tracks and fight back against fraudsters.

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Tax season is upon us

While responsible taxpayers gather their W-2 and 1099 forms in preparation for the tax filing due date, which typically occurs in April, criminals seize this opportunity to scam these people and go after their personal and financial information.


The IRS reported a steady stream of fake emails, text messages, websites, and social media attempts to steal taxpayers’ personal information last year.

Phone Scams

These scams involve criminals impersonating the IRS via phone and threatening arrest, license revocation or deportation if the victim doesn’t pay a bogus tax bill.

Identity Theft

Identity theft is when someone uses your Social Security number or other personal information to open new accounts, make purchases, or get a tax refund.

It doesn’t matter what stage of life you’re at — your personal identity is incredibly valuable

Recognizing the signs that you may be a victim of an IRS scam could greatly suppress the repercussions. Look out for these indications that you’ve been the victim of tax-related identity theft.

Your tax return is rejected when you file it.

This could occur if a criminal has already filed a fake return using your Social Security number.

You receive a letter from the IRS.

This could indicate that someone has tried filing a return with your information.

You receive a W-2 or 1099 form from an unknown employer.

Look up the company’s name online if you receive one of these forms from a company you’re unfamiliar with.

You receive a tax refund for a refund you didn’t file for.

The IRS isn’t just handing out free money and that this could point to tax-related fraud.

Staying secure now and in the future

While recognizing the signs of tax-related fraud helps ease the burdens associated with these schemes, there are multiple steps users can take to prevent becoming a victim of IRS scams.

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