Tips For Avoiding Summer Tax Scams
Contributed by Drew McMillin, Wealth Advisor
As technology continues to advance, so do the methods of hackers and scammers. Unfortunately in the present age, it’s not uncommon to be a victim of fraud. In an IRS newsletter from August, the IRS warned of an increase in automated scam calls this summer. It happens something like this…
You get a call from a number you don’t recognize, so you let it go to voicemail. Later in the day when you listen to the voicemail, you hear an automated message much like the ones your bank leaves. In the message you learn that the IRS never received your payment on your tax bill. You are told that this is the last warning before legal action is taken.
You know you paid your bill, but this message sounds real and you wonder if they somehow didn’t receive your payment. Anxiously you call the number. The person who answers is quite aggressive, much like someone at a collection agency, and they threaten to arrest you if you don’t agree to pay! Then they demand that you pay with gift cards or iTunes.
“Wait… what?” you think, but this call seems real and this “authority” seems angry. You don’t want to be arrested, so you go ahead and do it.
You’ve just been a victim of fraud!
As stated before the tactics of scammers is always evolving, but there are a few clear warning signs to protect yourself from an IRS scam.
The IRS Will Never:
- Call to demand immediate payment over the phone, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill.
- Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
- Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
- Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer.
- Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS and asking for money and you don’t owe taxes, here’s what you should do:
- Do not give out any information. Hang up immediately.
- Contact TIGTA to report the call. Use their “IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting” web page or call 800-366-4484.
- Report it to the Federal Trade Commission. Use the “FTC Complaint Assistant” on FTC.gov. Please add “IRS Telephone Scam” in the notes.
- If you think you might owe taxes, call the IRS directly at 800-829-1040.
The information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. Any opinions are those of Drew McMillin and not necessarily those of Raymond James. Links are being provided for information purposes only. Raymond James is not affiliated with and does not endorse, authorize or sponsor any of the listed websites or their respective sponsors. Raymond James is not responsible for the content of any website or the collection or use of information regarding any website’s users and/or members.