Any legitimate inquiry from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will only come by mail. The IRS does not make phone contacts nor use email or text messages.

Last month the IRS reported that phone scammers have targeted more than 366,000 people in 2015. The scammers are often aggressive and make threats about penalties. They may even have your Social Security number. What they want is a credit and/or debit card number. If you receive such a call, hang up. If you know you do not owe any taxes and have no reason to think otherwise, call the Treasury Department’s tax administration division at 800-366-4484. If you owe taxes or think you might, contact the IRS at 800-829-1040. Under no circumstances should you give a caller any personal information or your credit card, debit or social security number.

The IRS reports that scammers have victimized over 3,000 people since 2013. However, this pales in comparison to the number of cases of tax identity theft. The IRS lost an estimated $5.8 billion to fraudulent claims in 2013, while blocking $24 billion in attempts.

There is no way to obtain advance notification that your Social Security number is being used to file a fraudulent tax return. An e-filing rejection notice is often the first sign of fraud. Identity thieves are looking for refunds and have little interest in taxpayers who owe money. The IRS web site, contains steps to rectify fraudulent tax filings. However, even if you act quickly, it could take 120 to 180 days for a final resolution of the problem.