Tax Scams - Protect Yourself - 2021 | Best Guide - CPA Clinics
There are many tax scams out there with the purpose of stealing your identity, stealing your money, or filing fraudulent tax returns using your private information. Tax scammers work year-round, not just during tax season and target virtually everyone. Stay alert to the ways criminals pose as the IRS to trick you out of your money or personal information.
The best thing to remember to protect yourself is that the IRS will never initiate contact with you via telephone, text message, email, or social media to request personal or financial information. The IRS will always first send a letter requesting information.
An aggressive and sophisticated telephone scam targeting taxpayers, including recent immigrants, has been making the rounds throughout the country. Callers claim to be employees of the IRS, but are not. These con artists can sound convincing when they call. They use fake names and bogus IRS identification badge numbers. They may know a lot about their targets from information gathered from online resources, and they usually alter the caller ID (caller ID spoofing) to make it look like the IRS is calling. Also, if the phone is not answered, the scammers often leave an urgent callback request.
Victims are often told they owe money to the IRS and it must be paid promptly through a pre-loaded debit card, gift card, or wire transfer. If the victim refuses to cooperate, they are then threatened with arrest, deportation, or suspension of a business or driver’s license. In many cases, the caller becomes hostile and insulting.
Alternatively, victims may be told they have a refund due to try to trick them into sharing private financial information.
You should note that the IRS will never:
What to do. If you receive a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS and asking for money, take the following steps.
Do not provide any information to the caller. Hang up immediately.
If you know you owe tax, or think you might owe, you should call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 where you can get help with a payment issue.
If you know you do not owe any tax, or have no reason to believe that you do, report the incident to TIGTA (Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration) at 1-800- 366-4484 or at www.tigta.gov.
You should also contact the Federal Trade Commission and use the “FTC Complaint Assistant” at www.ftc.gov. When filing the complaint, add “IRS Telephone Scam” to the comments.
Scammers copy official IRS letterhead to use in emails they send to victims. Emails direct the consumer to a web link that requests personal and financial information, such as a Social Security Number, bank account, or credit card numbers. The practice of tricking victims into revealing private personal and financial information over the internet is known as “phishing” for information.
The IRS does not notify taxpayers of refunds or payments due via email. Additionally, taxpayers do not have to complete a special form or provide detailed financial information to obtain a refund. Refunds are based on information contained on the federal income tax return filed by the taxpayer. The IRS never asks people for the PIN numbers, passwords, or similar secret access information for their credit card, bank, or other financial accounts.
What to do. If you receive an email from someone claiming to be from the IRS and asking for money, take the following steps: