As technology becomes ever-more savvy, so does the technology resources of thieves an scammers. Each day we hear about some sort of identity theft, data breaches or a new tax scam.
The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, or TIGTA, has received reports of about 600,000 fraudulent taxpayer contacts since October 2013. TIGTA is also aware of nearly 4,000 victims who have collectively reported over $20 million in financial losses as a result of tax scams. The IRS offers the following tips to help taxpayers recognize potentially fraudulent calls and avoid becoming victims of a scam:
- Scams use scare tactics. Aggressive and sophisticated scams attempt to scare people into making false tax payments. Many phone scammers pose as IRS or other federal agents and use threats to intimidate targeted victims. These callers often threaten immediate arrest or deportation, or license revocation if cash is not paid immediately. Sometimes the caller requests payments on Green Cards. They may also leave “urgent” callback requests, sometimes through “robo-calls,” via phone or email. The emails will often contain a fake IRS document with a phone number or an email address.
- Scams use caller ID spoofing. Scammers often alter caller ID to make it look as if the IRS or another agency is calling. The callers use IRS titles and fake badge numbers to appear legitimate. They may use online resources to get a target’s name, address and other details to make the call sound official.
- Scams use phishing email and regular mail. Scammers copy official IRS letterhead to use in email or regular mail to make the scheme look official.
Also keep in mind the following facts if you suspect you have been a target. The real IRS will NOT:
- Call to demand immediate payment. The IRS will not call without first sending a bill in the mail.
- Demand payment and not allow an appeal of the amount owed.
- Require payments with a prepaid debit card.
- Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
- Request or confirm your social security number over the phone.
- Threaten to arrest you for lack of payment paying.
For more information on tax scams, visit IRS.gov, “Tax Scams and Consumer Alerts.”