Scams are constantly popping up. Thieves use taxpayers’ natural fear of the IRS and other government entities, including email and phone scams, to steal your money. They also use phishing schemes to trick you into divulging your SSN, date of birth, account numbers, passwords and other personal data that allow them to scam the IRS and others using your name and destroy your credit in the process. They are clever and are always coming up with new and unique schemes to trick you.
These scams have reached epidemic proportions, and this article will hopefully provide you with the knowledge to identify scams and avoid becoming a victim.
The very first thing you should be aware of is that the IRS never initiates contact in any other way than by U.S. mail. So if you receive an email or a phone call out of the blue with no prior contact, then it is a scam. DO NOT RESPOND to the email or open any links included in the email. If it is a phone call, simply HANG UP.
The IRS Does and Does Not Do
Additionally, it is important for taxpayers to know that the IRS:
Never asks for credit card, debit card, or prepaid card information over the telephone.
Never insists that taxpayers use a specific payment method to pay tax obligations.
Never requests immediate payment over the telephone.
Will not take enforcement action immediately following a phone conversation. Taxpayers usually receive prior written notification of IRS enforcement action involving IRS tax liens or levies.
Potential phone scam victims may be told that they owe money that must be paid immediately to the IRS or, on the flip side, that they are entitled to big refunds. When unsuccessful the first time, sometimes phone scammers call back trying a new strategy. Other characteristics of these scams include:
Scammers use fake names and IRS badge numbers. They generally use common names and surnames to identify themselves.
Scammers may be able to recite the last four digits of a victim’s Social Security number. Make asure you do not provide the rest of the number or your birth date.
Scammers alter the IRS toll-free number that shows up on caller ID to make it appear that the IRS is calling.
Scammers sometimes send bogus IRS emails to some victims to support their bogus calls.
Victims hear background noise of other calls being conducted to mimic a call site.
After threatening victims with jail time or driver’s license revocation, scammers hang up. Soon, others call back pretending to be from the local police or DMV, and the caller ID supports their claim.
DON’T GET HOODWINKED. This is a scam. If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, DO NOT give the caller any information or money. Instead, you should immediately hang up. Call this office if you are concerned about the validity of the call.
In our next blog, we will show you how to identify an IRS email scam and what steps to take if you receive one.
If you are concerned you may have been tricked by an IRS scam, please call us. Worthtax is experienced in helping taxpayers who may have fallen victim to tax identity theft? Call Alex Franch, BS EA can help you work through all the criteria of a business versus hobby. Call him at 781.849.7200 to determine if you will get any tax benefit from your business investment. We invite you to leave your comments below or on our Facebook or Google + pages. If you found this information helpful , and you think someone else might benefit from it, feel free to share it on your social media pages.
Other Tax Identity Theft Help Articles:
- Watch Out For the ‘Dirty Dozen’ of 2013
- Phishing and Tax Scams Part 1
- Taxpayer Identity Theft: IRS versus Massachusetts