IRS Tax Refund Email Scam

New email scam looks like it came from the Internal Revenue Service. It might trick you into providing your name, social security number or more. Learn how to protect yourself from this and similar scams.

Be careful about IRS Tax scams. We see and block them many times each year. That probably means they are still tricking people into providing their sensitive information.

Recent IRS Tax Refund Scam Looks Real

The IRS tax refund scam shown below popped up recently. It looks legitimate at first glance. But on further inspection, it has all the markings of a phishing scam designed to steal your identity or money. Click on it to take a closer look.

Click the thumbnail above to see an image of the entire email

How to Tell It's a Scam

If you click the image above and look at the full email, you can see several tell-tale signs that it's a scam.

  • "Dear Citizen": The email is addressed to a generic "Citizen", because the sender does not know your name. If this were from the IRS, they would probably address the email to you.

    Caution: Some scammers get people's names, then send them a scam email addressed to them by name. That's called a "spear phishing" scam.
  • Grammar and Spelling Mistakes: When you read the body of the email, you can tell it was written by someone with a poor command of English (for example, "%20" instead of "20%", and "i" instead of "I"). The IRS would not send an email with such mistakes in it.
  • Suspicious Link: If you hover over the "Claim" button in the original email (not in the image we've provided), the link that appears at the bottom of your browser goes to a web site that looks kind of like an IRS address, but has some extra letters at the end of it, such as:

    Never click on such a link or go to the site. It's probably very dangerous (so much so, that we changed it in this example). It might try to steal your personal information or download a virus to your computer.

Protect Yourself from Phishing Scams

Click here to watch our YouTube video that shows you how to avoid becoming a victim of phishing scams. You can also forward the link to your colleagues, friends and family members.

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