The IRS website and many state government websites can provide information on the status of your income tax refunds. But at the same time, they request very personal information such as your social security number and your income, in order to verify your identity and disclose refund information. If you find yourself at the wrong website or fall for a fake solicitation, you can easily be giving your info to the wrong people as the IRS warns.
There are two things to keep in mind, particularly this time of year:
First, make sure you are using the correct website when entering personal information to get your refund status or checking other information about your taxes. Most government websites end in a .gov or .net . Pay particular attention to apparent governmental websites that are dot coms.
Second, beware of phishing scams where you get an unsolicited e-mail that appears to come from the IRS. In fact, these are phony e-mails and you may end up divulging personal financial information to the wrong people. Often these scams claim that you are due a refund that you are not aware of or that you are under audit and need to provide more information. What you need to know to protect yourself is that the IRS will always either call you or write you for further information, if needed. The IRS currently does not send out e-mails to taxpayers.
The IRS offers this phone number to call if you want to verify the authentication of any type of IRS correspondence: 1-800-829-1040
Having been in business for many years, occasionally I come across a form that I have never seen before, requesting money or private information. I always do a quick search online to make sure the form is valid and that the address agrees to the corresponding government entity. There are times that these forms have been valid, some strange little-known tax that only comes around once in a blue moon. Other times, these are complete scams, and a quick web search easily weeds them out. The reason I share this is that you should never be complacent when you receive a request for money or information from a government entity, or from anyone really. If you are not sure what something is, do some digging before you give out any personal information or get out your checkbook. You can never be too careful.