You would think with tax season being “technically” over that you wouldn’t hear anymore about tax scams. Contrary to popular belief tax scams are still going on as these scammers appear to work year-round. The IRS is urging people to stay vigilant against calls from these scammers that are impersonating as IRS officials.
Here are some tips from the IRS to help you avoid being a victim:
• Scammers use scare tactics. These aggressive and sophisticated scammers try to scare people into making an immediate payment. They will try to threaten you with arrest, deportation and even state that they will have your professional license and/or your driver’s license taken away if you don’t agree to pay. They are also known for robo-calls. Robo-calls are basically just a recording that states that it is urgent that you call back the number that it provides. DON’T CALL THE NUMBER BACK!
• Scammers spoof your caller ID. This merely means that when you receive a call the scammer can make it look like the IRS or another agency is calling you. The callers use IRS titles and fake badge numbers to make themselves appear legit. More often than not they use online resources to get your name, address and other details about your life to make the call sound official.
• Scammers also use phishing email and regular mail. Scammers are known to copy official IRS letterhead to use in email or regular mail that they send to victims. A new trend for these scammers is they will actually provide and actual IRS address where they will tell you to mail the reciept for the payment that you made. This makes the scam look official.
• Remember that the IRS will not call you about your tax bill without first sending you a bill in the mail. They will not demand that you pay your taxes a certain way. For instance, require that you pay with a prepaid debit card or any specific form of payment. They will not ask you for a debit or credit card number over the phone. In addition the IRS will not threaten to bring police or other agencies to arrest you for not paying. Nor will they theaten you with a lawsuit.
• Remember if you don’t owe taxes or have no reason to think that you do contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA). Use TIGTA’s “IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting” to report the incident. You should also report it to the Federal Trade Commission. Use the “FTC Complaint Assistant” on the FTC.gov website. Please add “IRS Telephone Scam in the notes.
• Remember that if you do receive a call do not provide any information to the caller. Hang up immediately. If you know you owe or think you may owe call the IRS at (800)829-1040 and an employee can help you.