Don’t fall victim to an IRS tax scam. Yes, we all get phone calls from telemarketers, fundraisers, creditors etc. Sometimes, there is a legitimate reason why a caller is asking for money, but increasingly often, consumers are receiving calls from scammers pretending to be from a legitimate organization. Be aware of the tactics that are frequently used to scam consumers so you can learn to protect yourself.
Often, what a scammer is after is either easy money, or personal information that they can use for identity theft. A frequent strategy is to pose as an agent with the Internal Revenue Service and demand immediate payment of back taxes by wire transfer or over the phone with a debit card.
Recognizing fraud can be difficult, as these callers are skilled at being convincing. As an educated consumer, you have some tools to help prevent you from becoming another victim.
Prevent IRS Tax Scam with these tips:
Understand the Problem
Fraudsters claiming to be with the IRS have cost U.S. residents millions of dollars. The IRS can seem like such a powerful agency that some recipients of these calls pay money over the phone in an attempt to avoid consequences. By sending a wire transfer, they have lost money. By providing a debit card number and the code on the back, they have not only lost money, but potentially succumbed to identity theft.
Many U.S. residents owe back taxes and can be easily intimidated by being told that the IRS is putting a lien on their property or seizing their bank accounts. Others are victimized by a caller stating that a mistake was made on their tax return forms and that the taxpayer still owes money. In many cases consumers are told that the IRS will prosecute them for tax avoidance and that they could be sent to prison. Nobody sets out to be scammed, but with some simple tips, you can prevent yourself and your loved ones from being victimized.
Know What to Do if You Receive An IRS Tax Scam Call
- Understand that while the IRS might call a taxpayer about a problem, it would certainly not be their first communication. Before resorting to phone calls, they would notify you of an issue by mail, most likely more than once.
- The IRS will not contact taxpayers by email, text messages or social media channels to request personal or financial information. This includes requests for PIN numbers, passwords or information for credit cards, banks or financial accounts.
- No legitimate government agency will contact a consumer and demand a Social Security number or immediate payment by phone or wire transfer over the phone. Their representatives do not call and threaten to have the taxpayer arrested.
- No matter how convincing the caller is, never agree to any requests or demands for payment of back taxes. Do not give out your Social Security number if the caller asks you for it.
- You receive a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS but you suspect they are not an IRS employee, The IRS recommends that you:
- Record the employee’s name, badge number, call back number and caller ID if available.
- Call 1-800-366-4484 to determine if the caller is an IRS employee with a legitimate need to contact you.
If you feel that you have been the victim of irs tax scam fraud, or any other type of fraud, you can take the following actions:
Report all unsolicited email claiming to be from the IRS or an IRS-related function to email@example.com. If you’ve experienced any monetary losses due to an IRS-related incident, please report it to the Treasury Inspector General Administration (TIGTA) and file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) through their Complaint Assistant to make the information available to investigators.
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