The Internal Revenue Service says it’s time for scammers, phishers, fakes and frauds to work over unsuspecting taxpayers.

IRS spokesman Michael Divine in St. Louis says every year there are people trying to trick others into giving away information to get their refund, and that’s not how the IRS does business.

For most Missourians, after they file their taxes, that’s the end of any contact with the IRS until the next filing season. Devine says when in doubt, hang up or do not reply. Instead, just call the IRS directly.

Devine says there are also hundreds of Internet phishing sites that are imposter IRS sites. He reminds people that — that’s I-R-S dot G-O-V — for government, is the only legitimate website. However, he says there are hundreds of imposter sites, some that even use the official IRS logo, that try to pass for official.

Tax season is a prime time for frauds to try to scam people for their social security numbers, bank information and more, he says, noting that the elderly are especially targeted.

The IRS will only initally contact taxpayers with a letter in the mail, he says, never by phone or e-mail.

“There are always scams, especially after filing season, having to do with refunds and people trying to trick you into giving away information to get your refund – and this is not how we do business,” he says. “If the IRS has a question about your tax return we’re going to send you a letter and that’s the first time you’re going to hear from us. We’ve had reports that a lot of people are receiving official looking e-mails that claim to come from the IRS, and basically these are crooks trying to steal your personal information.”

If any correspondance seems suspect, Devine urges taxpayers to call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040.

There have also been scams that target those in the military. The IRS says in the past, reports have come in of scammers contacting military families and offering to help them take advantage of military tax benefits … for a fee. The IRS warns that some even go so far as to provide a toll-free number or give a bogus website to make it seem legitimate. Devine says the IRS does not contact people to give information and it does not charge a fee for any information requested.