Tax Scams and How to Protect Yourself
I believe there are many people that have received a phone call or an email from someone impersonating an IRS agent. It seems that this kind of behavior is becoming more common every day. And the fraudsters are getting much better at disguising their efforts.
Even the IRS has been informing taxpayers to be aware of the various telephone scams. Many of the telephone scammers indicate that you owe back taxes and if you don’t pay right now, they will send the sheriff out to arrest you or a warrant will be issued for your arrest. The scammer doesn’t tell you what type of taxes you owe or what year the taxes are from. The scammers will sometimes verbally threaten you when you ask them questions or inform them that you don’t owe any additional taxes. The scammers will typically fake the caller ID number to appear to come from Washington, DC or other locations in the United States. They have been known to spoof local sheriff’s offices, state departments, federal agencies and others to convince you the call is legitimate. The IRS does not leave pre-recorded or threatening voicemails to taxpayers.
There are also many variations of email phishing scams. The IRS does not contact taxpayers via email to request personal or confidential information. The IRS normally utilizes the United States Postal Services and will send correspondence via certified mail for important and timely requests of information. A phishing email is almost always threatening in nature and refers to some delinquent tax from a made-up taxing agency. They may use graphics that look very similar to what the IRS utilizes and the email address will be similar to the IRS website, but it will not be an IRS email address.
A few simple things to remember: The IRS will never call to demand immediate payment; request payment in the form of debit or gift cards; demand the check be made payable to a third party; threaten you with law enforcement; demand payment without the right of appeal; or ask for your credit card information over the phone. You should never give out any information over the phone and you should report any scam to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration or forward any phishing emails to [email protected].
It is wise to stay alert for income tax scams. The scammers are now working year-round to cheat you out of your hard earned money.