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Fraudulent Tax Returns and Refunds

If you’ve been a victim of an online data breach, or have had any personal identifying information stolen, take caution. This could be the first step toward tax fraud. Scammers use stolen names and Social Security numbers to file phony electronic tax returns and receive fraudulent refunds in the mail.

Be alert to possible tax-related identity theft if the IRS or your tax professional/provider indicates:

  • More than one tax return was filed using your SSN
  • You receive a 1099 for unemployment, but you didn’t claim the benefit.
  • IRS records indicate you received wages or other income from an employer for whom you did not work.


  • Avoid phishing emails, as well as threatening calls and texts from thieves posing as legitimate organizations such as your bank, credit card companies, and even the IRS.
  • Do not click on links or download attachments from unknown or suspicious emails.
  • Shred unwanted documents that contain personal information before discarding.
  • Never give out personal information over the phone or the Internet unless you initiated the contact.


  • Notify the IRS and Postal Inspectors if you believe you are the victim of tax refund fraud.
  • File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at
  • Contact one of the three major credit bureaus to place a “fraud alert” on your credit records.
  • Contact your financial institutions and close any financial or credit accounts opened without your permission or tampered with by identity thieves.

Download USPIS Tax Tips PDF

Tax Identity Theft

Getting ready to file a tax return? Have you been a victim of identity theft? Then take caution. Scammers are eager to use your stolen information to file a return on your behalf.

Fraude de Reembolsos

Es la temporada de impuestos. También es la temporada de fraude de reembolsos. ¡No dejes que los estafadores utilicen tu información personal para llenar sus bolsillos!

IRS Agent Scam PSA

Have you received threatening calls from someone claiming to be an IRS Agent? Hang up the phone. It's a scam.

Tax Refund Fraud PSA

Tax season is here, and scammers are eager to file a return on you behalf! With a rise in tax scams, we are ramping up our outreach to warn the public about these scams.

That's Not the IRS Calling!

If you didn’t receive any notices from the IRS about tax debt, and you get a call from someone telling you to pay taxes, it is likely a scam. Hang up and call the IRS yourself to verify your account status. Keep your money safe.

Refund and Recovery Scam

If you're contacted by someone offering to assist you with recovering your money from a previous scam for a small fee; don't take the bait...AGAIN! Scammers often use this tactic to steal money from those recovering from a previous scam.

Fraudulent Tax Returns – Letter Carrier Unravels Scam

Identity theft scammers can use personal information to file a fraudulent tax refund. Watch to find out more.

Identity Fraud – Tax Refund Scam

Tax-related identity theft occurs when someone uses your stolen Social Security number to file a tax return to receive a fraudulent tax refund. Watch to find out more about these scams.

Protect Yourself From Tax Return and Refund Fraud

  • Alert financial institutions about fraud right away

    If you suspect you’re a victim of tax fraud, alert your financial institutions to prevent scammers from opening new accounts.

  • Don't accept mailings for strangers

    If a stranger asks you to accept a mailing at your residence, or to tape a fictitious name to your mailbox, don’t do it!

  • Check your bank statements regularly

    Check your credit card and bank statements regularly and report all suspicious activity immediately.

  • Change your passwords

    If you think someone is using your personal information, change logins, passwords, and PINs for your accounts.

  • Learn how to protect yourself from tax related identity theft

    To learn more about how to spot tax related identity theft, review the Taxpayer Guide to Identity Theft.

Have You Witnessed This Scam?

If you’ve been affected by a fraudulent tax return or refund scam and the U.S. Mail® has been used in any way, we want to help. Please report tax fraud.

Report Now