How to Spot & Avoid Tax Fraud

As tax season ramps up, so does tax-related fraud. Know what to look for, and take steps to protect sensitive information.


Phone Calls: The IRS will never notify you of a tax issue by phone until it has first sent written notification, usually multiple times. If a caller claims to be from the IRS, end the call.

Email, Text and Other Means of Contact: Remember, the IRS and its agents will contact you by letter only. The IRS does not send unsolicited emails or ask for detailed personal and financial information by email, text message or any other means of contact. Do not click on any links in emails and text messages claiming to be from the IRS, and delete these messages.

Protecting Your Information

Be Picky: Use a reputable tax filing service. The information you are providing is extremely sensitive.

File Your Return Early: File your tax return as early in the tax season as you can to protect yourself from tax identify theft. This type of identity theft happens when someone uses your Social Security number (SSN) to file a phony tax return and collect your refund. You may not find out it has happened until you try to file your real tax return and the IRS rejects it as a duplicate filing.

Secure Your Mailbox: Avoid losing your personal and financial information through mail theft by locking your mailbox. Have the postal service put a hold on your mail when you are away from home for several days.

Shred Personal Info: Bank statements, receipts and tax documents contain a great deal of information that could be used to steal your identity and/or used to file a false tax return in your name. Use a paper shredder when it is time to dispose of such documents. If you’re not sure what to keep or shred, check our Shredding Guide. You can also use the shred bins located at GSB’s branches if you do not have access to a shredder.

Use Strong Passwords: Always use strong passwords, especially for financial accounts, and never allow your computer to save passwords automatically. If passwords become a burden to remember, try using a password manager (Dashlane, NordPass and RoboForm are a few reputable ones).