Just as sure as tax season comes around every year, so do the scammers. We’re here to remind you to stay vigilant, because there are a lot of sneaky people out there who are just waiting for the unsuspecting public to fall prey to one of their tricks!
During tax season, criminals make aggressive phone calls posing as IRS agents hoping to steal taxpayer money or personal information. They may threaten to seize property and assets or even threaten arrests. Some scammers have even claimed to have a lawsuit or threaten one.
These perpetrators use fake names and claim to be IRS employees, sometimes they even have convincing assets to make them seem as if they are authentic, like ID badge numbers or disguised caller ID. They will try to convince you that you owe the IRS money and need to pay it off immediately or face dire consequences. If all of these other warning signs weren’t enough, then this one should be the giant red flag because the IRS is very amicable towards payment plans. They will never call and demand payment via prepaid debit card, gift cards, or wire transfer. If someone who claims to be from the IRS calls you demanding payment, feel confident that it is a scam and end the call immediately.
Fraudsters also call people during tax season to tell them that they are getting a surprise refund, asking for banking details to make the refund deposit. This is another scam! Don’t give any banking information out to anyone who calls you. Again, the IRS will never contact you by phone, nor will they handle a refund in this manner. Head to their website (irs.gov) or give them a call, or talk to your accountant, to confirm if you think you’re owed a refund.
The IRS will never:
- 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 a bill to any taxpayer who owes taxes.
- Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law enforcement groups to have the taxpayer arrested for not paying.
- Demand that taxes be paid without giving taxpayers the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed.
- Call unexpectedly about a tax refund.
Taxpayers who receive these phone calls should:
- Record the number and then hang up the phone immediately.
- Report the call to TIGTA using their IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting form or by calling 800-366-4484.
- Report the number to firstname.lastname@example.org and be sure to put “IRS Phone Scam” in the subject line.
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