A new year encourages people to have hope for the future. It also brings tax season, and with tax season comes a variety of scams. This message is the first of a series of articles on specific tax scams and avoiding falling victim to them.
Quickly becoming a perennial favorite of scammers is the SSN suspension or cancelation scam. This scam can be perpetrated by email, but scammers most often attempt using “robocall” voicemails. The scammer suggests the target has overdue/unpaid taxes and unless the target promptly makes a payment, the IRS will suspend or cancel or cancel their Social Security number.
The IRS has provided a list of signs to be aware of to avoid scams.
- Specific Methods for Immediate Payment: Whether the caller claims to be from the IRS, the cable company, or the doctor’s office, insisting on payment using a prepaid debit card, iTunes gift card, or wire transfer is a definitive indicator of a scam. This tip is especially true as the IRS does not accept any of those payment methods.
- Payment to another organization: If the scammer asks the taxpayer to make payment to a person or an organization other than the US Treasury, hang up.
- The Police: Another tactic scammer routinely use is the threat to contact local police or another law enforcement agency and have the target arrested for non-payment of taxes.
- No Appeal: All taxpayers can appeal IRS judgments, so any demand for payment without the opportunity to appeal the amount owed indicates the call is a scam.
So, what should you do if you receive a call from a scammer?
- Hang Up: First and foremost, never give out personal information over the phone except in situations when entirely sure who you are speaking with on the other end.
- Report the call: Should you receive a call, take the time to report the call to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at https://www.treasury.gov/tigta/contact_report_scam.shtml Additionally, provide the Caller ID and callback number to the IRS easily by emailing the information to firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to use “IRS Phone Scam” in the subject line. Finally, report the call to the Federal Trade Commission at https://reportfraud.ftc.gov/#/?orgcode=IRS The FTC requests “IRS Phone Scam” in the notes when reporting.
- Check for yourself: If you owe taxes or believe you might, you can view your tax account information at https://www.irs.gov/payments/view-your-tax-account to confirm the amount and determine payment options.
Author: Bill Green