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How to Protect Yourself from IRS Scams

December 9, 2014

When the IRS realized just how damaging the latest scam truly was, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration called it “the largest scam of its kind that we have seen”. After many months, the IRS scam is still running strong, claiming victims in every state.

It may be the first time scammers used intimidation and sophisticated technology to present themselves as IRS agents. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) President in Louisville, Charlie Mattingly informs, “They say, ‘We’ve reviewed your tax return, you owe money, you’ve got to pay up now.’ The nature of the IRS scam seems to become more intimidating in recent weeks, more threatening — if you don’t do this right now, you’ll be arrested.”

Taxpayers often panic, thinking it is the IRS, and share their personal information with the scammers or send them money. Scammers will “spoof” the caller ID of the IRS to appear legitimate. When individuals refuse to cooperate or appear doubtful, scammers threaten the person with immediate arrest. The best way to handle such calls is to hang up or not pick up.

Scammers are after two things: Your money and/or your personal information. If you do not share either, you are safe. The better informed you are about the IRS scam, the easier it will be for you to avoid falling victim to it.

A typical scamming attack looks like this:

–    The victim is told that the caller is an IRS agent.

–    The scammer tells the victim that they owe back taxes and must pay immediately.

–    Upon questioning, doubting or refusing, the victim is threatened with severe action such as arrest, driver’s license revocation, etc.

–    Other scammers of the team then call back and say that they are the police to make them seem authentic.

–    They further intimidate the victim.

You must not trust the callers even if they have IRS badge numbers or IRS agents’ names. Remember that they may already have some of your information, such as the last 4 digits of your Social Security Number, your name, date of birth, etc.

If you fall victim to the IRS scam, immediately contact the IRS at 1-800-829-1040, the BBB, or the FTC.


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