Tax scams are continuing to be a major problem. Unfortunately, the scammers seem to be very active in our area based on the number of questions I've received recently.
Scammers and cyber thieves continue to use the IRS as bait. The most common tax scams are phone calls and emails from thieves who pretend to be from the IRS. Scammers use the IRS name, logo, fake employee names and badge numbers to try to steal money and identities from taxpayers.
Taxpayers need to be wary of phone calls or automated messages from someone who claims to be from the IRS. Often, these criminals will say taxpayers owe money and demand payment right away. Other times, scammers will lie to taxpayers and say they’re due a refund. The thieves ask for bank account information over the phone. The IRS warns taxpayers not to fall for these scams.
Below are several tips from the IRS that will help you avoid becoming a scam victim.
IRS employees will not:
Call demanding an immediate payment. The IRS won’t call taxpayers if they owe taxes without first sending a bill in the mail.
Demand payment without allowing taxpayers to question or appeal the amount owed.
Demand that taxpayers pay their taxes in a specific way, such as with a prepaid debit card.
Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
Threaten to contact local police or similar agencies to arrest taxpayers for non-payment of taxes.
Threaten legal action, such as a lawsuit.
In most cases, an IRS phishing scam is an unsolicited, fake email that claims to come from the IRS. Some emails link to sham websites that look real. The scammers’ goal is to lure victims to give up their personal and financial information. If the thieves get what they’re after, they use it to steal a victim’s money and identity.
For those taxpayers who get a phishing email, the IRS says:
Don’t reply to the message.
Don’t give out your personal or financial information.
Forward the email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Then delete it.
Don’t open any attachments or click on any links. They may have malicious code that will infect your computer.
Disclaimer: The items included in the Tax Tip Tuesday Video Blog are informational only and are not meant as tax advice. Consult with your tax advisor to determine how any item applies to your situation. IRS Circular 230 disclosure: To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the IRS, we inform you that any U.S. federal tax advise contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein.