Tax season is over, at least for those who didn’t need to file extensions. Unfortunately, the fraudsters are still working full time in their efforts to obtain your personal information.
The newest twist on the phone scam is to spoof the local IRS phone number so the taxpayer’s caller ID shows that the IRS is calling. The fraudster demands immediate payment from the taxpayer for taxes. If the taxpayer questions the demand for payment, the fraudster suggests the taxpayer go to the IRS website (www.irs.gov) and check the phone number for the local IRS office. The fraudster calls back, again spoofing the local IRS phone number. Once the taxpayer has “verified” the phone number, the fraudster again demands money, usually by means of a debit card.
Fraudsters have also been known to spoof local sheriff’s offices, state offices or other government agencies, trying to convince the taxpayer the call is legitimate.
To keep yourself safe, here are some pointers you should always keep in mind:
- The IRS will not demand that you use a specific payment method for any taxes due, such as a prepaid debit card, gift card, or wire transfer.
- The IRS will not ask for your debit or credit card information over the phone.
- If you owe taxes, make payments to the U.S. Treasury. For online options, go to www.irs.gov/payments.
- If the IRS does say you owe taxes, you always have the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
- The IRS will first mail you a bill if you owe any taxes.
- The IRS will not threaten to bring in the police or immigration officers which is a common threat used by fraudsters.
- The IRS cannot revoke your driver’s license, your immigration status, or your business licenses. This is also a common threat used by fraudsters.
It can be very frightening to get a call from the IRS, and these criminals prey on that fear. When you have the above knowledge, you can spot a scam before it happens and keep yourself and your bank account safe from fraud.Judith Ackland has more than 26 years of experience in accountancy and financial planning, including seventeen years as a CFO of a diverse business. She started Crystal Financial in 2010 to help a wide array of individuals, families, and business owners better understand their finances and how good financial management could help them achieve their goals. Judith has an MA in Professional Accountancy from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln as well as a Certified Public Accountant Certificate and a Certified Financial Planner designation.