When tax season hits, IRS scams are at the top of the list of scams and fraud. Though, they happen throughout the year, even during off-season. IRS scams can take many different ways to trick tax-filers. The fraudsters may contact you by phone, email, postal mail, or even a text message.
Here are FOUR common types of scams to be on alert for:
Thieves can mask the true caller ID number to make it seem like an IRS office, local sheriff’s office, state department of motor vehicles or other federal agency is calling. Criminals generally leave pre-recorded, urgent messages requesting a call back, and threaten victims with an arrest warrant, deportation or revocation of licenses if they don’t. Callers may be requesting payment for an owed tax bill.
Scammers involve victims getting an unsolicited message appearing to be from the IRS or a program closely linked to the agency. Email will be masked to seem as if it is coming from official IRS agency. Email may contain a bogus link to connect with IRS or their partner to take care of the urgent matter or you may get in trouble if no action is taken immediately.
TEXT MESSAGES SCAMS:
Text hoaxes involve messages with bogus links that claims to be IRS websites or other online tools. These text messages are sent via direct text or through any other social media platform. The message will ask you to click on the link or open the attachment to take care of urgent IRS matter to avoid getting further penalized from the agency and be in good standing with the IRS.
Lately, there has been increase in unemployment fraud as we faced pandemic. Criminals and cyber hackers use stolen personal data to file fraudulent unemployment claims in victims’ names. Victims may not even find out they have had victim of identity theft until tax time, when they receive 1099 tax form detailing unemployment compensation they never collected.
Here are a few facts EVERY tax filer should be aware of:
~The Internal Revenue Service agency doesn’t use email to request personal or financial information
~The tax bureau initiates most contacts via regular mail delivered by the U.S. Postal Service
~The IRS doesn’t use texts (or social media platforms) to discuss personal tax issues, such as bills or refunds
“The IRS reminds everyone NOT to click links or open attachments in unsolicited, suspicious or unexpected text messages — whether from the IRS, state tax agencies or others in the tax community,” according to the agency bulletin.
~According to the agency, they will generally first mail a bill to taxpayers, and all tax payments are ONLY made payable to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, NEVER to ANY 3rd party.
~The IRS doesn’t initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or social media channels to request personal or financial information. This includes requests for PIN numbers, passwords or similar access information for credit cards, banks or other financial accounts.
~The IRS will never ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone, or demand immediate payment using a specific payment method like prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. The agency also lets taxpayers question or appeal the owed amount.
TAKE ACTION ~ BE PROACTIVE
*If you suspect you have received a Phishing email or have a scam email in your inbox claiming to be IRS, here are the guidelines from The IRS.
*Tax Fraud Alert from The IRS to review to keep yourself alert at all times and not to fall for the crime.
*Tax-related identity theft happens when someone steals your personal information to commit tax fraud. Your taxes can be affected if your Social Security number is used to file a fraudulent return or to claim a refund or credit. For more information on ID theft, visit the IRS website.