IRS Scam Awareness

IRS Scam AwarenessAs the April 17th deadline has come and gone, refunds are beginning to be disbursed by the IRS.  During this time, sophisticated phone scams are targeting taxpayers. According to a study conducted by the Treasury Inspector General, over $23 million dollars have been paid by over 4,000 victims as a result of tax scams. Earlier this year, the IRS released their 2018 “Dirty Dozen” which include a list of the most common tax scams that can affect taxpayers. Among the list are phone scams. Here is a little background on how these type of fraudulent calls work: Scammers often alter caller ID numbers, known as spoofing, to make it seem the IRS or another agency is calling. They make demands and try to scare the victim into making immediate payments. Each year scammers are working to improve their antics. In order to protect yourself from fictitious phone calls or messages, here are some tips:

  • The IRS will NEVER:
    • Call you to demand immediate payment without first sending a paper bill in the mail
    • Ask for credit or debit card number over the phone
    • Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card
    • Threaten to involve police or other agencies to arrest you, revoke driver’s license, business license, or immigration status
    • Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe
    • Demand that payments via Western Union, MoneyGram, bank wire transfers, or bank deposits be made into another person’s account for any debt to the IRS or Treasury
    • Randomly contact you through email to confirm amounts due or to be refunded
    • Require only one specific payment method
  • Common IRS Scams:
    • Calling and asking for immediate payment over the phone by check or credit card
    • Callers impersonating IRS or Treasury Department employees and demanding payments on ITunes Gift Cards or other gift cards
    • Scammers file returns in victim’s name with refunds being directly deposited into victim’s bank account. The scammer will then contact the victim saying the refund was an error and needs to be mailed back.
    • Scammers contact using email to verify the tax refund by clicking a link where a fake page can steal personal information
  • Tips for You:
    • Never share any financial or personal information over the phone- the IRS will already have the majority of your information and request information by mail
    • Do not panic if you receive a threatening call – do not engage in the phone call and hang up. The scammer may be recording your voice looking for key words such as “yes” in order to authorize fraudulent charges via telephone
    • Record the “employee’s” information and call the IRS at 1-800-366-4484 to determine if the caller is an IRS employee with a legitimate reason to contact you
    • Block the phone number
    • If you receive a questioning call or message from someone claiming to be an IRS agent, feel free to contact our office for assistance
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