Tax scams in the U.S. are quite infamous for their peculiarity. Scamsters are forever on the lookout for chances to find loopholes and dupe people of their tax money. The IRS takes extreme measures to keep all the U.S. taxpayers aware of its procedures and protocols of filing tax returns, claiming refunds, exemptions and much more. Being aware can help you easily distinguish between a real and fake IRS notification for payment of taxes or anything alike.
So, always being conscious and on the lookout for such tax scams and creating awareness about this can be of significant use to you and your peers.
In this article, we have collated some of the must-know information which can help you safeguard yourself from such tax scams.
All about Phone Scams
A phone scam is the most preferred way by which a scamster might try to dupe you of your tax money or refunds. The following are a few points that you shall keep in your mind while receiving any calls for tax-related matters and inform the concerned authorities if you think it might be a scam call.
- You will never receive a pre-recorded, urgent or threatening call from the IRS for collection of overdue tax money.
- Know that it’s a tax scam in case you receive a call and are threatened with an arrest warrant on not calling back. Other threats might include intervention of law enforcement, deportation, or revocation of your licence. The IRS never adopts such measures for collection of the overdue tax amount. In normal circumstances, you would receive a mail on your address or in extreme cases a phone call requesting payment of the overdue amount. Instead of panicking, you should check the status of your overdue tax amount on the IRS website and then plan on your future course of action.
- Criminals these days can stoop to any level to dupe you, especially aided by sophisticated technology and preying on the fears of taxpayers and banking on the fact they don’t have adequate knowledge. They may use a fake caller ID to appear to be anywhere in the country or even spoof an IRS number or the numbers of other local, state, federal or tribal government agencies to dupe you.
- If you receive a call from an agency called the ‘Bureau of Tax Enforcement,’ know that it’s a classic tax scam because such an agency does not exist in the U.S. The IRS is the only standing organization in the U.S. that has the authority to deal with matters related to taxes.
Email Phishing Scams
Email Phishing Scams is one level up from Phone Scams. Many of the taxpayers tend to easily trust email communication in comparison to phone calls. The following points will tell you about how an Email Phishing Scam would look like, so read on and be wary of any such emails.
- You will never receive an IRS initiated email requesting your personal or financial information.
- The IRS mostly initiates communication through the United States Postal Services. So, be secure in the knowledge that the IRS communication is valid only if it is received on the address mentioned in your tax returns and through the U.S. Postal Services.
- The IRS will call you or come to your home or business only in extreme circumstances such as an overdue tax bill, a delinquent tax return or a delinquent employment tax payment.
- If you receive such an email requesting your personal or financial information or immediate transfer of overdue tax amount, you should report it to the IRS on firstname.lastname@example.org. Ensure that you do not open any attachments, click on any links, reply to the sender or take any action on such emails because miscreants might use your response to hack into your account or cause considerable loss to you through cyber hacking or stealing your personal data such as Social Security Number (SSN)
Other common signs of a Tax Scam
You shall always keep in mind that the IRS as a first step will always mail you a tax bill for any overdue tax amount. The following are some actions which the IRS or its authorized private collection agency will never take:
- You will never receive a call from the IRS or its authorized private collection agency for immediate payment of overdue tax amount through a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. The IRS does not use these modes for payment of taxes.
- You will never receive a call or an email from the IRS requesting a transfer of overdue tax payment to a third party. The IRS follows very specific instructions for payment of taxes which are made payable only to the U.S. treasury.
- The IRS will never threaten you with immediately bringing in local police or law enforcement agencies for non-payment of taxes.
- The IRS will always give you the time and opportunity to question or appeal any amount you owe in the form of taxes. They will never demand payment of overdue taxes without giving you sufficient time to think and act.
What shall you do in case of
1. Not owing any tax amount and still receiving a call for tax collection
- Hang up the call immediately
- Send a complaint to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration
- Report the Caller ID and Callback number to the IRS on email@example.com
- Report such a call to the Federal Trade Commission
2. Owing tax amount or confused about such overdue
- Check you actual tax dues on the IRS website
- Review all the payment options for clearing the overdue tax amount
- Call and verify the number mentioned on any billing notice received by you or call the IRS at 800–829–1040 to verify such a tax bill
- Make it a point to be aware of all the payment and tax collection protocols of the IRS.
In conclusion, we urge you to be aware of the various practices and protocols of the IRS as it is the best way for you to safeguard yourself from ever-increasing tax scams. On receiving any communication for payment of taxes, you shall first verify on the IRS website or just consult your tax agency for their guidance.
As the MyTaxFiler team always says that knowledge can be your biggest shield and will always help you take informed and conscious tax decisions. So subscribe to the MyTaxFiler blogs to keep on receiving interesting and latest tax updates.
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