Tax Scam Season
As we spoke about in last week’s video, friends, it is tax season again. That dreaded time of the year when we scramble to find last years’ tax documents, perhaps your CPA’s phone number, and some Prozac. We don’t have to tell you that it’s a stressful time for everyone involved. What we do have to tell you is that there are scumbagspeople out there who scam hard-working individuals like you and me during tax season. To help you combat these despicable scam artists, we’re going to highlight a few of the scams they have been known to run. To be clear, this isn’t a comprehensive list of all the methods tax scammers have been known to use. These are just some that we feel should be highlighted.
IRS Impersonation Phone Scam. Have you ever been contacted by the “IRS” and told that you owe money? That if you don’t pay what you owe, a warrant will go out for your arrest? That you would be sued? If you have, you’re only one of many. Scammers frequently impersonate IRS employees and try to bully and scare you into paying “what you owe” via a wire transfer or gift card. Do NOT comply. Oftentimes, these scammers will even change their caller ID to display an IRS lookalike. Remember, the IRS does not call to demand immediate payment. Typically, they first mail you a bill if you owe any taxes. Aside from this scare tactic, IRS impersonators will also try to get your personal information by telling you that you have a refund needing to be deposited. Please remember, the IRS contacts taxpayers by snail mail, not by phone. For more information about this particular scam, click here.
Phishing Scams. “Phishing” is a scam where con artists send emails to victims with the intent of tricking them into giving or revealing personal or financial information. The IRS frequently has to send out alerts of fraudulent use of its logo or name, so beware anything you get that contains official logos and requests for money. Remember, the IRS will only send a letter informing individuals of taxes owed.
Scamming Tax Professionals. The fraudsters do not limit their victims to ordinary taxpayers. Due to being a practical repository of personal information, CPA’s, PC’s, and other tax professionals are targeted frequently. Fraudsters use a variety of methods to glean information, from phishing schemes asking tax professionals to update their IRS e-Portal information to embedding malicious software on professionals’ computers. The IRS has urged all tax professionals to step up their security, and to remain alert for scam attempts.
As we said, this isn’t by any means a comprehensive list of all tactics used by fraudsters. Every year, these con artists get more and more creative with their scams. For even more tactics and details on scams, click here to visit the IRS’ webpage that breaks down many scams. As always, remain vigilant for attempts to scam you out of your information. A word of strong warning: Do not open strange emails and do not respond to vague phone calls asking you to wire money. If you have any concern that you may have been victimized by a fraudster, call or visit your local IRS office. If someone has been attempting to defraud you, call the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration to report a phone scam. You can also report it via their website. If you were the target of an email “phishing” scam, you can report it to the IRS at firstname.lastname@example.org. Bottom line – while tax time can be stressful for most people, we hope this tax season is as painless as possible for you. If you have any questions regarding tax scams, feel free to call us or send us an email!