Tax Scams – Beware
The Internal Revenue Service has issued an advisory warning people about various types of tax scams and ways to protect oneself against them.
The most common types of scam include phone scams and phishing.
This old scam involves aggressive and threatening phone calls made by criminals impersonating IRS agents and remains an ongoing threat to taxpayers. The IRS has seen a surge of these phone scams in recent months as scam artists threaten police arrest, deportation, license revocation and other things.
Here are five things scammers may do during a call which the IRS never would (any one of these five things is a tell-tale sign of a scam).
The IRS will never:
- Call to demand immediate payment, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill, under IRS letterhead with pertinent details about the issue.
- Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
- Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.
- Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
- Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS and asking for money, here’s what you should do:
- If you know you owe taxes or think you might owe, call the IRS at +1-800-829-1040. The IRS workers can help you with a payment issue.
- If you know you don’t owe taxes or have no reason to believe that you do, report the incident to the TIGTA at +1-800-366-4484 or at treasury.gov/tigta/.
It is important to keep in mind the IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email or any other type of electronic communication, such as text messages and social media channels.
Phishing is a scam typically carried out with the help of unsolicited email or a fake website that poses as a legitimate site to lure in potential victims and prompt them to provide valuable personal and financial information. Armed with this information, a criminal can commit identity theft or financial theft.
Taxpayers need to be on guard against fake emails or websites looking to steal personal information. As already mentioned, the IRS does not send emails, period. If you see an IRS type of email correspondence, do not click on it, it is fake. If you are unsure for some reason, send it to your accountant to confirm authenticity. As a general rule of thumb, Taxpayers should be wary of clicking on any strange emails and websites. They may be scams to steal your personal information.
If you receive an unsolicited email that appears to be from either the IRS or an organization closely linked to the IRS, such as the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), report it by sending it to email@example.com.
If you have any questions regarding your tax returns, don’t hesitate to contact us.