As we inch towards tax season, tax-payers and tax professionals prepare to take on Uncle Sam. Another group preparing to get it on the action, unruly scammers. In an age where information is highly coveted, scammers use every possible way to obtain it. Scammers use the telephone, mail or email to set up individuals, businesses, payroll and tax professionals.
An important thing to note for tax season is that the IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or on any social media platform to request personal information or financial information.
The following are types of scams that the IRS wants taxpayers to be aware of:
Callers claim to be IRS employees, using fake names and phony IRS identification badge numbers. They may know a lot about the target and usually alter the caller ID to make it seem as if the IRS is calling.
The victim is then told they owe money to the IRS and must be paid through a gift card of some sort or wire transfer. Most recently, iTunes gift cards are being requested as payment by these IRS impostors. Scammers often become hostile and insulting to the victim. If the phone isn’t answered, scammers leave “urgent” callback requests.
The IRS doesn’t:
- Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. Generally, the IRS will first mail you a bill if you owe any taxes.
- Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
- Demand payment without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
- Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
Phishing is a scam where scammers send e-mail messages to rick unsuspecting victims into revealing personal and financial information that can be used to steal the victims’ identity. The IRS has issued several alerts about the misuse of the IRS name or logo in emails by scammers to gain access to consumers’ financial information to steal identities and assets.
Reasoning behind why scammers use email to phish out information is the surge of urgency when consumers’ receive an email. Whether it be a professional or leisurely used email, scammer emails are designed to trick taxpayers into thinking these are official. Clients who receive unsolicited emails pretending to be the IRS should report it to: firstname.lastname@example.org