When you have Marketplace health insurance you may have to do some new things with your taxes, like making sure forms about your health coverage are correct, filling out new tax forms, and figuring out your final premium tax credit.
Be aware there are scammers out there who may try to take advantage of any confusion and uncertainty these changes cause. Tax scams can happen any time of year. They may come in the form of emails or phone calls, and may look like they are from the IRS, a tax company, a bill collector, or a state tax agency.
The Marketplace takes fraud prevention and protection very seriously and works with law enforcement to identify, prevent, stop, and prosecute these criminals.
You can protect yourself by following a few simple guidelines.
Avoid email phishing attempts
In email phishing scams, criminals try to steal your personal information, like passwords, social security numbers, and bank and credit card information. These fraudulent emails looks like they come from a trusted source and often contain links to a fake login page on a “spoofed” or “phishing” website. These fake websites often look exactly like the real website.
Watch out for emails that look like they’re from:
- Your financial institution, a tax software provider or the IRS, asking you to update your account and providing a link
- Your employer, requesting payroll and human resource information
- The IRS, saying something like ”you have a refund waiting”
Pay close attention to:
- The sender’s email address in the “From” line to make sure it exactly matches the organization’s official email address. Note: Official government email addresses end in “.gov”, like IRS.gov and HealthCare.gov
- Urgent, threatening subject lines or email titles Scammers try to trick you into giving them your personal and financial information
- Unsolicited requests to verify or update your personal information, like passwords, bank or credit card numbers and Social Security Numbers. Unsolicited emails from legitimate financial institutions, tax preparers, and government agencies will never ask you to verify confidential information
- Links within the email Phishing emails can contain a mix of links to the fake website and the real one to make the email appear that it’s coming from a trusted source. Don’t click on the link. Instead, rest your mouse over the link without clicking on it to see if the link address matches the address typed into the email
- Generic greetings, like “Dear taxpayer” or “Dear customer” Scammers rarely have your name, only your email address
- Misspelled words and bad grammar are also a red flag that the email is a phishing scam
If you get a ‘phishing’ email, here are some tips to protect yourself:
- Don’t reply to the message
- Don’t give out your personal or financial information
- Don’t open any attachments or click on any links even if they seem to be from organizations you trust. They may have malicious code that will infect your computer with viruses or keystroke loggers that record what you type. For legitimate information, go directly to the website of the organization the email says it’s from instead
- Forward the email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Then delete it
Watch Out for Threatening Phone Calls
By phone, criminals try to steal a victim’s money or identity, like their Social Security Number, birth date, bank account numbers, or credit card information. Take note of:
- Unsolicited calls Some scammers make unsolicited calls claiming to be IRS officials. They demand that the victim pay a bogus tax bill. They con the victim into sending cash, usually through a prepaid debit card or wire transfer. They may also leave “urgent” callback requests through pre-recorded phone messages (or “robo-calls”) or via a fraudulent email (or “phishing email scam”)
- Threatening calls Many phone scams use threats to bully a victim into paying. They may threaten to arrest, deport, or revoke the license of their victim if they don’t get the money
- Caller ID spoofing Scammers often alter caller ID numbers to make it look like the IRS or another agency is calling. The callers use IRS titles and fake badge numbers to appear legitimate. They may use the victim’s name, address, and other personal information to make the call sound official
If you get a threatening phone call demanding payment over the phone or in a certain way, like through a debit card:
- Don’t give out your personal or financial information
- Hang up immediately
- Contact the organization callers say they're representing directly if someone calls and gives you a mailing address to send a check for any money they say you owe, or a web address to make an online payment. The IRS, a tax company, or state collections agency will verify if they actually called you and the reason for calling
When to report suspected fraud
The IRS does not:
- Call you if you owe taxes, without first sending you a bill in the mail
- Initiate contact with taxpayers to request personal or financial information by any type of electronic communication, including by email, text message, or social media channels
- Require that you pay your taxes a certain way, like with a prepaid debit card or wire transfer
- Call taxpayers with threats of lawsuits or arrests for not paying
It’s time to take action if someone:
- Calls to demand immediate payment
- Demands you pay taxes and doesn’t let you question or appeal the amount you owe
- Requires you to pay your taxes a certain way, like with a prepaid debit card or wire transfer
- Makes an unsolicited phone call to you and asks for your credit or debit card numbers over the phone
- Threatens to bring in police or other agencies to arrest you for not paying
How to report suspected fraud
You can report suspected fraud a few ways.
If you don’t owe taxes, or have no reason to think you do:
- Contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) to report the call. Use their "IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting" online form or call 1-800-366-4484
- Report it to the Federal Trade Commission’s online Complaint Assistant and type “IRS Telephone Scam” or “IRS Email Scam” in the notes field
- Contact your local police department if someone tries to use your personal information to open accounts, file taxes, or make purchases. Visit ftc.gov/idtheft to learn more about identity theft
If you owe taxes, or think you might:
- Call the IRS at 800-829-1040. IRS workers can help you.
IRS.gov resources on tax scams
Questions about health insurance scams? Learn how to protect yourself from Marketplace fraud.