Tax scams are running as rampant as ever and as a matter of fact, a few of us here have been subjected to this frustrating act ourselves. We’ve caught you up on genius ways to save and prepare for your taxes this year but here’s a big one… do NOT fall for these tax scams.
On February 2, the IRS gave a press release on serious phone scams occurring across the country and they remain on the IRS “dirty dozen” list of tax scams for the current filing season. Either you or someone you know may have recently received an aggressive phone call from criminals impersonating IRS (or in other cases, FBI, police and other persons of authority) agents. If you’ve missed the call, they’re likely to have left a threatening voice message at the beep.
RECOMMENDED FOR YOU: What NOT to Do This Tax Season
We urge you to check out of the most common ways in which these scammers reach out and take precautions. According to the IRS,
“Phone scams usually threaten police arrest, deportation, license revocation and other things.”
However, don’t fall prey to their fear tactics because the IRS would never make this kind of demand over the phone or even leave such a voice mail for that matter.
Phone scam artists have many variations in regards to how they trick you into giving out information or payments and their outreach usually peak during tax season. This January 2016, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) announced that,
“the number of reports is around 869,000 since October 2013 resulting in over 5,000 victims who, in total, paid over $26.5 million due to these kind of scams.”
SEE ALSO: Tax Filing Tips for 1st Time Tax Filers
Caller use fake IRS titles and badge numbers
Alter caller ID to mimic IRS or other agencies
Typically reach out and demand victim pay for a bogus tax bill
W-2 scam that targets payroll and human resources, professionals
Tax preparer phishing scam
This bogus email scam require tax professionals to update IRS e-services portal and Electronic Filing Identification Numbers (EFINs)
Email phishing scam: “update your IRS e-file”
Con victim into sending cash usually via prepaid debit card or wire transfer
Leaves voicemail for “urgent” callback
Email, phishing and malware schemes (IRS reports a 400% surge in these incidents thus far)
Scare tactics: threatens police arrest, deportation, license revocation and etc.
May mention your name, address and other personal information to sound official
See more details about risks, safety measures, the cost of these scams and more via the H&R Block infographic below:
Source: H&R Block
Additionally, if you require information on whether or not you owe taxes, call the official IRS number at 800-829-1040 and an IRS associate will assist you.
With that said, stay alert! Many will attempt to use numerous scare tactics and IRS or alternate form of government identification to lure you into the con. You have access to more information and alerts by visiting Tax Scams and Consumer Alerts at the official IRS website. And of course, don’t forget to follow the above information directly from the IRS to report any suspicious phone calls, emails, voicemails or otherwise.
Finally, Tax Day is right around the corner and one of the staples of getting your taxes done right is to plan and prepare so you don't miss out on any deductions (that's money in the trash!). Best thing of all, planning in advance will help you take advantage of all tax software discounts and deal so don't procrastinate! These top tax software companies are currently offering discounts (there is also a free file option) so head over and see which one best fits your tax filing needs: