Tax Scammers Don’t Take a Summer Vacation, IRS Warns
REDW | June 18, 2018
Many taxpayers recently filed their taxes and may be waiting for a response from the IRS. Because of this, summertime tends to be a period when phishing emails and telephone scams continue to pop up around the country. Scammers try to get people to disclose personal information such as Social Security numbers, account information, PINs and passwords.
Watch out for these scenarios:
- Calls to demand immediate payment using a specific method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. Generally, the IRS will first mail a bill to any taxpayer who owes taxes. The IRS does not leave pre-recorded, urgent messages asking for a call back. Scammers may, but IRS will not, ask taxpayers about refunds, filing status, personal information, or personal identification numbers.
- Threat messages. In one scam, the victim is told if they do not call back, a warrant will be issued for their arrest. Other variations may include the threat of law-enforcement agency intervention, deportation or revocation of licenses. The IRS will never threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have the taxpayer arrested for not paying.
- Fake calls appearing to be from an IRS office. Criminals can fake or “spoof” caller ID to appear that they are from an IRS office. If they question the caller, victims are told to check the number with the IRS.gov website. Then the scammer calls again and demands payment, usually by debit card. The IRS does not make calls to taxpayers to demand payment of outstanding taxes. The best response to all these phone scams is to hang up immediately.
- Email scams. Some people have received emails appearing to be from the IRS or a program closely linked to the IRS, such as the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System. Clicking on links in the email takes recipients to a website that asks for taxpayer information. The IRS does not use email, text messages, or social media to discuss tax debts or refunds with taxpayers. Recipients should not click on any links, and can forward these emails to email@example.com to report the scammer.
Remember, the IRS will never:
- Demand money over the phone.
- Use email or text messages to discuss personal tax issues.
- Ask that checks be made out to a third party, or require that taxpayers use a prepaid debit card, gift card, or wire transfer.
- Threaten to immediately bring in local law enforcement to arrest individuals for not paying.
Bottom line: Do not reveal your personal information, no matter how authentic a phone call or email seems to be.
REDW’s tax team offers personalized service for businesses and individuals. For more information, please contact Sandy Abalos.