TULSA, Oklahoma - The IRS is giving people until midnight Wednesday to get their returns filed after part of the agency’s website crashed on Tuesday.

Many taxpayers have received a letter they assume is a scam, but this letter actually is from the IRS and it’s meant to protect consumers from identity theft.

Emilie Smith says she has been contacted by scammers before, even receiving calls from legitimate phone numbers.

“It was the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Department.  I called back and I asked to speak to a deputy and she said, “we don’t warn people when we’re going to come and arrest them,” said Smith.

Smith says she’s thankful her skepticism paid off.

“We dodged that bullet.  We didn’t give them any money at all,” stated Smith.

That was last tax season.  So, when she got a letter this year she assumed it was a scam.

The letter reads in part, “Dear Taxpayer, we have received a federal income tax return, for 1040A, for the tax year above using your name and Social Security Number…to protect you from identity theft, we need to verify your identity before we process the return.”

Tax preparers say this letter is legitimate and it is from the IRS.

“There’s been an increasing number of scammers…that steal social security numbers and file fraudulent returns to get the refund,” said accountant Paul Muret.

Muret says the letter is an extra layer of security to make sure the money ends up in the right hands.

“They’ve stepped up their fraud prevention to try to stop some of their fraudulent refunds,” stated Muret.

“It was frustrating, but it was also nice to know that they weren’t just going to send our money to somebody because they said they were us,” said Smith.

Keep in mind the IRS will never call you unless you’re in an ongoing audit.

If you received a letter claiming to be from the IRS, call the IRS or your tax preparer just to be sure.