Identify and Avoid the Two Most Common Tax Scams
Tax time is the peak season for criminals to try and steal your identity or scam you out of your tax return. IRS scams can easily run all year as criminals work to steal personal information and Social Security Numbers that will allow them to defraud the United States government. Let’s take a quick look at two of the most common scams that target the individual and how to protect your tax refund and identity from predators.
IRS Phone Scams
Phone scams and impersonations of IRS workers rise dramatically during the tax filing season. Criminals will use any number of tactics to try and convince you to make a payment or give up your financial information for their gain. They may threaten you with legal action like taking you to court, deportation, or criminal charges. They will often try to intimidate you to put you on the defensive so you make bad decisions in the heat of the moment.
There are some easy ways to spot this type of IRS scam. The IRS does not threaten to bring in law enforcement to arrest you for not meeting their demands. You are entitled to the right to appeal or question the amount of taxes the IRS says you owe. The IRS will never ask you for an immediate payment or payment via a specific method. Con artists like to coerce their victims into using prepaid debit cards because they are harder to track. Furthermore, the IRS will never ask for a debit or credit card number over the phone.
If you run into these things, you are likely dealing with a IRS scam con artist.
Email is an everyday part of our lives. It is a prime vehicle for con artists to perform IRS scams. They will try and trick you into revealing your personal information. The practice is called Phishing and it’s been around for decades now. A scammer may spoof email addresses, domains, and send official looking correspondence to appear legitimate. A very common scam includes asking you to verify personal information or financial details through an included URL.
The IRS will not send you emails about tax bills or refunds out of the blue. The easiest way to protect yourself from identity theft via phishing is to never click links in unexpected emails, even if it comes from a person or entity you know. If you are not expecting correspondence, do not click any links in the email as it may lead to malware or theft of your personal information.
There are numerous scams out there that target everyone from the individual to large businesses. These two are most commonly used against the average person who is just trying to get their taxes filed and returned. Stay aware and don’t fall for these scams!
We would love to hear from you in the comments if you have experienced these kinds of IRS scams!