The tax season is over, but unfortunately tax scams continue. One of the largest tax scams of its kind, the IRS phone scam, continues to gather victims as scammers carry on making phone calls to unsuspecting taxpayers pretending to be the IRS. The IRS phone scam began even before the tax season and surprised everybody with its magnitude. Unfortunately, it has not ended with the close of tax season.
Taxpayers in every state have received intimidating phone calls from scammers, threatening them with arrest, termination of driver’s or professional licenses, or the disconnection of utility services. The scammers demand instant payment of the tax debt through credit card or pre-paid debit card. They either ask the taxpayer to reveal the credit or debit card information or get the money transferred to their bank account.
IRS phone scammers use pressure tactics, follow their calls with email or other calls, and even use fake IRS toll-free numbers on caller ID to make themselves seem authentic. Under this scam, millions of taxpayers have reported receiving calls that claimed to be from the IRS or a federal collection agency.
The Better Business Bureau believes that the elderly are being targeted. Scammers are known to target the vulnerable, such as immigrants, college students or the elderly. They have been also known to dig up information of the recently deceased to file fake tax returns in their name to pocket huge refunds.
Usually, it is the tax scams that do not involve tax return filing that continue even after the tax season. However, those taxpayers that pay quarterly estimated taxes need to continue to be wary of tax preparer fraud. To protect themselves from scammers, taxpayers need to be more careful and be aware of the methods scammers use to steal money or personal information. When in doubt, taxpayers should always contact the IRS to gain information on their tax liabilities instead of responding to suspicious calls, text messages or emails. The IRS never calls taxpayers to collect tax debt. Instead, they send a notice or a letter informing the taxpayer of the tax debt and how it must be paid.
Remember that the scammers are either after your sensitive information or money; therefore, be careful not to share either until you have authenticated the identity of the person you are communicating with.