Consumer Affairs Provides Tips to Avoid Tax Scams

Tennessee's Division of Consumer Affairs offers tips to avoid tax return scams.

With Tax Day approaching, the Tennessee Division of Consumer Affairs reminds residents to be cautious of scams related to tax returns. Scammers may use various tactics to try to obtain your money, including sending fake communications claiming to be from legitimate agencies like the IRS. These messages can come in the form of unsolicited calls, texts, emails, or mailers.

Common scenarios that a con artist may attempt include indicating that an unclaimed refund is available if you provide personal and financial information, stating that a mistake was made on your return and you need to refund the money immediately to avoid penalty or arrest, or claiming that their services are needed to settle tax debts with the IRS.

To protect yourself, never click on links in unexpected texts or emails, and don’t share personal information with anyone who contacts you out of the blue. Always use a website or phone number you know is real. Remember that the IRS won’t call, email, or text to contact you for the first time; they’ll always start by sending you a letter.

Be wary of anyone who demands immediate payment via gift cards, cryptocurrency, wire transfer, or prepaid debit cards. You can find the status of any pending refund on the IRS official website at Where’s My Refund. Also, understand that a third party is not needed to settle tax debt for less than the full amount owed. Consumers can review IRS resources such as the Offer in Compromise Pre-Qualifier to help resolve a tax debt on their own without facing hefty fees.

If you receive unsolicited texts or emails claiming to be the IRS, report them by forwarding a screenshot or the email as an attachment to Consumers can also report scams to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration or the Federal Trade Commission at

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