Tax time can be prime time for tax-related scams and phishing attempts. Fraudsters take advantage of this time of year to try to steal your money or private information by pretending to be IRS agents or state tax department representatives. They can be scary - and convincing. These scammers use the telephone or email to claim that you owe money or that they need more information to either complete or verify your taxes. And then they threaten you with arrest or other legal consequences if you don’t do as they say. By phone, these crooks can trick your phone’s caller ID to look like the call is coming from the IRS and they often give you names and official-sounding badge numbers to make them sound like real agents. Via email, these scammers might use an official seal or logo to make you think it’s the real thing. The goal of these criminals is to take your money or to get you to give them sensitive personal information such as a Social Security number, bank account number or a credit card number which can be used for other fraudulent scams. They demand payment or seek information right away and threaten you with legal action or fines unless you act immediately. It’s important not to fall for these tricks. The IRS is aware of these scams and wants you to know it: Will first mail you a bill about taxes owed before making any phone call. Will give you the opportunity to question any taxes it says you owe. Will never call to demand immediate payment. Will never ask for credit or debit card numbers over the telephone. Won’t require a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card or wire transfer. Will never threaten to have you arrested for not paying. So be careful: Don’t let tax scams trick you into losing your money or your sensitive information.