01 Dec How to Avoid Tax Scams
How to Avoid Tax Scams
The Internal Revenue Service estimates that, in recent years, thousands of people have lost millions of dollars and their personal information to tax scams and fake IRS communication. Scammers use the regular mail, telephone, fax or email to set up their victims.
REMEMBER: The IRS doesn’t initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or social media channels to request personal or financial information. In addition, IRS does not threaten taxpayers with lawsuits, imprisonment or other enforcement action. Recognizing these telltale signs of a phishing or tax scam could save you from becoming a victim.
IRS reports that impersonation telephone scams are particularly insidious.
An aggressive and sophisticated phone scam targeting taxpayers, including recent immigrants, has been making the rounds throughout the country. Callers claim to be employees of the IRS, using fake names and bogus IRS identification badge numbers. They may know a lot about their targets, and 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 pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. Victims may be threatened with arrest, deportation or suspension of a business or driver’s license. In many cases, the caller becomes hostile and insulting. Or, victims may be told they have a refund due to try to trick them into sharing private information. If the phone isn’t answered, the scammers often leave an “urgent” callback request.
Some con artists have used video relay services (VRS) to try to scam deaf and hard of hearing individuals. Taxpayers are urged not to trust calls just because they are made through VRS, as interpreters don’t screen calls for validity.
IRS urges all taxpayers caution before paying unexpected tax bills. Con artists often approach victims with Limited English Proficiency in their native language, threaten them with deportation, police arrest and license revocation, among other things. Note that 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 you a bill if you owe any taxes.
- Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
- Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
- Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
If you are on the receiving end of one of these scams or “phishing” attempts, call the experts at Palm Beach Tax Service for advice. If you’re already using Palm Beach Tax Service as your Lantana bookkeeper, your Palm Beach accounting service or your Lake worth bookkeeper, you’re already a step ahead of the game. Call today to set up an appointment to review your tax situation and any unusual threats that you might encounter.