If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is! In recent years, thousands of people have lost millions of dollars and their personal information to tax scams and fake IRS communication.
LET’S START WITH THE BOTTOM LINE…THE IRS DOES NOT REQUEST PERSONAL INFORMATION BY TELEPHONE OR EMAIL!
The Internal Revenue Service does not initiate contact with taxpayers by phone, email, text messages or social media channels to request personal or financial information.
Note: Generally, the IRS will communicate by mail.
HOW DO YOU RECOGNIZE THE SIGNS OF A TELEPHONE TAX SCAM?
Con artists sound convincing –
- Callers claim to be employees of the IRS.
- They use fake names and bogus IRS identification badge numbers.
- They usually alter the caller ID to make it look like the IRS is calling.
- Victims are told they owe money to the IRS and it must be paid promptly through a credit card or wire transfer.
- If the victim refuses to cooperate, they are then threatened with arrest, or suspension of a driver’s license.
- In many cases, the caller becomes hostile and insulting.
THE IRS REPORTS A 400% INCREASE LAST YEAR IN EMAIL SCAMS.
- Scam emails (called “phishing”) are designed to trick taxpayers into thinking these are official communications from the IRS.
- Phishing emails seek information related to refunds, filing status, confirming personal information, ordering transcripts and verifying PIN information.
- Include a link to a bogus web site intended to mirror the official IRS web site.
- The sites ask for Social Security numbers, which could be used to help file false tax returns.
HOW DO WE REPORT TAX-RELATED SCAMS?
Scammers are constantly identifying new tactics.
- Suspicious emails should be reported to the IRS at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- You may also report instances of suspected tax fraud to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 800-366-4484.
FINALLY, WHAT ARE OUR TAX PREPARATION OPTIONS?
- Free File on the IRS website.
- Tax Software such as Turbo Tax
- Professional help:
- “Tax Prep” services
- H&R Block. Jackson Hewitt
- Certified Public Accountants/Firms