Two Scams Currently Targeting Tax Payers
Posted by: Brookside Admin
The deadline for this who filed an exemption for their tax return in the spring is coming up on October 15th. As with any looming tax deadline, that means that tax related scams are ramping up. Whether they're after your money or your personal information, there are a variety of prevalent tax scams that claim numerous victims each year. Here are two current scams being seen by individuals across the country.
- Phone and email spoofing
In this scam, someone claiming to be with the IRS contacts you via phone or email and claims you have an outstanding tax bill due. They then pressure you to pay immediately with a prepaid debit card or wire transfer and threaten you with jail time if you don't comply. What makes this scam so successful is a practice called spoofing. It allows a scam artist to disguise their actual phone number or email and replace with one that looks more reputable. In this case, your caller ID will show the call is coming from an IRS number, or the email address a message is sent from will be '@irs.gov'. That's how they get you to listen to their pitch in the first place. The IRS has called this the largest scam they've ever encountered and it's likely that efforts will continue to increase after the October 15th deadline. Be aware that the real IRS never demands immediate payment be sent to them in a specific way and in most cases doesn't contact you by phone or email. Before you submit a payment or give out information like your social security number, talk with a tax professional to verify that the message you received is actually from the IRS.
- Falsified documents
Many tax payers know that the IRS generally communicates with them via letters and other mailed documents. So, even with a spoofed number, the first scam is unlikely to work. That's why these scams have evolved to now include fake IRS letters being sent through the mail. These letters will look just like something you'd get from the IRS and will claim that you owe additional taxes or request that you verify your information. Victims of these scams have reported an estimated $20-million in financial losses. It's important to remember that, again, legitimate correspondence from the IRS doesn't demand payment in a specific form. Official letters will also give you time to rebut the agency's request and explain how you can go about doing that.
If you're contacted in one of these scams, hang up the phone and don't respond. Then, call the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1-800-366-4484 or go to the TIGTA website.
If you're not sure about whether or not a communication from the IRS is legitimate, don't submit a payment or send in information until you verify it with a tax professional.
With any questions about your personal taxes or your business taxes, call us at Brown Kinion and we'll help you submit the correct documents, verify what is owed and what isn't and make sense of the IRS's claims.