Crooks are inclined to some rather creative techniques when it comes to seizing their ill-gotten gains. An IRS scam is no exception, because scammers know that most of us will do as instructed when it relates to IRS and tax matters. If told, “you owe money”, many go ahead and cough up – the request came from IRS after all, and your tax information seemed correct!
In recent years, thousands of people have lost millions of dollars as well as their personal information to IRS scams and fake communications from the tax authority. Scammers use regular mail, telephone, fax or email to set up their victims. This article identifies one of the latest schemes on the go, and how you should respond if approached, and you suspect an IRS scam is playing out.
Know Your Rights
Thinking clearly, IRS will never initiate contact with a taxpayer by the social media, or email when requesting personal and/or financial information. If you receive such a request, you would do well to raise the alarm at IRS before doing anything further. The more threatening the tone, the more suspicious it becomes. That is because IRS never resorts to threats of lawsuits, or imprisonment or enforcement action of any nature. Indeed, IRS prefers to take the initiative and warn taxpayers about new and evolving schemes.
Taxpayer Targeted Scams
One of the latest innovations on the IRS scam trail is the very realistic IRS-Impersonation Telephone Scam. Purportedly linked to the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS) fraud, scammers call to demand an immediate tax payment through a prepaid debit card. In the latest variation, the scammer claims to be from the IRS. They tell the soon-to-be-victim about two certified letters allegedly sent to the taxpayer in the mail but returned as undeliverable.
Almost deserving of an Oscar, the scammer then threatens imminent arrest unless payment is immediate through the taxpayers prepaid debit card. The scammer also tells the victim that their card links direct to the EFTPS. In reality, the whole process is under the scammer’s control, with the payments going directly to them.
Scammers never sit still for long. Convincing, but threatening phone calls by criminals impersonating IRS agents remain a major threat to taxpayers. Variations of the IRS impersonation scam continue year-round. They usually peak when scammers find prime opportunities to strike. Simply understanding how IRS never works, is a good start in seeing off a potential IRS scam. For example, IRS will never:
- Request credit or debit card numbers over the phone. Or threaten to have a taxpayer arrested immediately
- Make demands that you pay immediately – they are required to provide taxpayers the opportunity to question or appeal
- Call you to demand immediate settlement using specific payment methods – IRS alerts each taxpayer of amounts owing by mail first
Be Alert and Stay Safe
They say that when it sounds too good to be true, it generally is. In the case of an IRS scam, it is never “too good”, but bullying tactics can prove persuasive. Never let your guard down, and always question anything you are not comfortable about the IRS.
Do you owe more than $10,000 in back taxes? Protect yourself. Protect your business. Contact IRS Solver for a consultation.