It’s tax season! That special time of filing forms, rushing to meet deadlines and looking forward to a (possible) refund, then deciding to spend or save it; what a joyous, confusing, chaotic time. And to make things trickier, phony emails and calls are made to look as if the IRS is contacting you, telling you to pay a bogus tax bill or they will have authorities knocking at your door. Or maybe you get an email asking for your address, Social Security number or the keys to your house!
Scammers can be very sneaky and skilled at masking their true identity. They use threatening scare tactics that get you worried and next thing you know, you handed them the safe combination to your gold bars buried in the backyard.
Ok, that reference maybe a little extreme, indeed a bit dated, but the point here is that scammers are very persuasive and it’s important to know what’s fake or true. Here’s a two minute video on guarding against ID theft.
Some scams to be wary of:
- Phone Scams: Criminals impersonating the IRS threatening taxpayers with arrest, deportation and license revocation, among other things. IRS almost always contacts taxpayers by mail. Ignore phone calls from unknown numbers.
- Phishing: Fake emails or websites looking to steal personal information. Be wary of emails or websites with deceiving links claiming to be from the IRS.
- Return Preparer Fraud: Dishonest tax preparers. Be on the lookout for tax professionals who set up shop conveniently around each tax season to commit tax fraud.
- Identity Theft: Criminals filing fraudulent returns using someone’s Social Security number. Remain cautious and do everything you can to avoid being a victim of ID theft.
- Complete list of IRS “Dirty Dozen” Scams
Take a look at what the IRS will never do. REMEMBER they will not:
- Initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text message or social media to request personal information.
- Call you to demand immediate payment using specific payment methods.
- Demand you pay taxes without the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed.
- Threaten to bring in law enforcement to have you arrested for not paying.
If the IRS tries to contact you, they will via direct mail first and foremost. If you owe taxes, the IRS will send several letters (or notices) instructing you to make payments to the United States Treasury.
If you suspect you are a victim of identity theft or your information was exposed in a data breach, visit The Federal Trade Commission's ID theft recovery plan webpage to take action.
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