It is tax season and that means scammers will be trying to fleece as many people out of money as they can. This will go on beyond April 15th. These scammers manage to get enough people to fall for their tricks to get over a million dollars each year. Be on the alert as these scammers will be working hard to intimidate you and many others out of your hard-earned dollars.
The scammers get away with this because people tend to feel intimidated when they think the IRS is calling or emailing them. Most of the scams involve phone calls from someone claiming to be an IRS agent, stating that the person owes taxes that must be paid immediately. The scammer may even have the last four digits of the target’s Social Security number so the person is convinced they really are talking to someone from the IRS.
If you get a call from a fake IRS agent, you may be asked for personal information to verify your identity. Then you will be told you owe a certain amount in taxes and must pay right away. They will ask you to pay over the phone using a debit card or a gift card of some type, such as an iTunes or Target gift card.
These calls are often followed up with an email containing an IRS seal that looks quite authentic. Some scams are conducted solely through email, often with attachments. These will usually not address you by name and will ask for personal, identifying information, such as Social Security number, address and phone number. You should never respond in any way to these emails and not open any attachments. Attachments are likely to contain malware designed to capture personal information that the sender will use to steal your identity or your credit card or bank account information.
If you get one of these calls or emails, hang up on such calls and delete the emails. Contact the IRS at https://www.treasury.gov/tigta/contact_report_scam.shtml to report them.
You might wonder how to tell for certain that it isn’t the IRS calling or emailing you. Here are some tips to help you know what the IRS doesn’t do:
- The IRS never calls anyone and demands an over the phone payment. When the IRS contacts you if you owe taxes, they will do so by US mail. You will receive a bill for taxes owed.
- The IRS never threatens to have you arrested right away if you don’t pay over the phone.
- The IRS never demands payment of taxes owed without letting you question the amount or submit an appeal.
- The IRS will never insist on you using a certain type of payment such as a wire transfer or prepaid debit card.
- The IRS never asks for card numbers to be given over the phone.
Scammers try their hardest to scare you into paying them. If you get a call or an email from someone claiming to be from the IRS and does any of the things listed above, it is not an IRS agent. Be alert and protect yourself from these scammers by being informed.