Tax scams are becoming far more frequent and sophisticated due to the conditions of the pandemic. According to IRS Commissioner, Chuck Rettig, “Tax scams tend to rise during tax season or during times of crisis, and scam artists are using pandemic to try stealing money and information from honest taxpayers.” Often these scams take the form of someone posing as the IRS to gain access to sensitive information.
Keep the following tips in mind to stay safe from scamming attempts as we head into a new year and tax season:
- The IRS will never contact you asking for payment in prepaid debit or gift cards.
- The IRS will never ask for you to send payments via wire transfer.
- If you owe taxes, expect a bill, not a phone call.
- The IRS will never call threatening that any law enforcement group will arrest you immediately.
- You always have the right to appeal and question an amount that you owe, so anyone demanding payment and denying you these appeals is not employed by the IRS.
- The IRS will never ask for credit or debit card information over the phone.
- Most communication from the IRS will come via mail, not over the phone
- Any party contacting you via phone and claiming they can suspend your social security number is a scammer. This is done to cause victims to call back the number associated with so-called “robocaller” voicemails.
- Some scammers will call to manipulate the generosity of individuals who want to help victims of national emergencies such as natural disasters.
If you receive an unsolicited phone call from someone who claims to be an IRS Agent or with the U.S. government, follow these steps to protect your personal information and dodge an IRS phone scam:
- Ask for their name and IRS employee ID number
- If they do not provide this information, hang up immediately. Do not provide any information.
- Report the incident to Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) by calling 800-366-4484 or entering the information on its website.
- Also report the incident to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at FTC.gov using the “FTC Complaint Assistant“. Be sure to include “IRS Telephone Scam” in your notes.
- If you think you owe taxes, call the IRS at 800-829-1040 and speak to an IRS representative.
- Keep in mind that there are some special circumstances where the IRS might contact you via phone, which include inquiries into overdue taxes, obtaining delinquent tax returns, or to scout a business due to an audit and/or criminal investigation.
From IRS phone scams to phishing hackers, fake charities to return preparer fraud, the dangers faced by taxpayers are very real. It may seem impossible to keep up with new threats the long list of tax scams impose.
By using Estess CPAs tax filing service will help ensure that your tax return is filed accurately and timely. If you remain current with your tax filings, you will unlikely be the victim of an IRS phone scam. We specialize in helping businesses save time and money. In addition to providing bookkeeping, payroll, and accounting services, we are here to advise you and help you succeed. Call us today and schedule an appointment at our Belle Chasse or Luling offices:
7822 Highway 23 128 Lakewood Drive
Belle Chasse, LA 70037 Luling, LA 70070
(504) 433-5122 (985) 785-1470