Spike in Tax-related Gift Card Scams – Did You Know?

The holiday season can bring a lot of joy, but unfortunately it also brings a new wave of scammers trying to cheat people out of their hard-earned money. Many scammers impersonate the IRS or other government agencies and demand payment in gift cards.

In one common version of the scam, a caller posing as an IRS agent threatens a person with tax and/or criminal penalties if the person does not immediately pay off a fictitious tax debt. The scammer may also send threatening text, email or voice messages with a callback number. Ultimately, the scammer demands that the person make payment by purchasing gift cards and sharing the card numbers and PINs.

If you get a call or message from anyone demanding payment in gift cards, hang up or do not reply. The IRS will never call a taxpayer to demand payment in gift cards, prepaid debit cards or wire transfers. If you have legitimate concerns about your tax situation, including back taxes you may owe, a tax professional can help you handle the problem in a safe, secure way. To help protect others, you can report possible tax scams to phishing@irs.gov.