According to the Associated Press, a nationwide tax scam has cost Americans over $15 million and counting since 2013. In fact, testimony from a Treasury deputy inspector general notes that these scammers are operating the largest and most pervasive scam on record.
The odds are you or someone you know could be or already has been targeted. As tax season approaches deadline day, it’s likely that this scam will become even more frequent immediately after April 15th.
Here are some tips from the professionals on how to avoid getting ensnared in this IRS scam:
Know that the IRS does not initiate contact by phone
They will send multiple pieces of correspondence by mail detailing any back taxes or fine you are responsible for.
The IRS does not act like debt collectors
The hallmarks of this scam invoke aggressive and even threatening accusations over the phone, in the vein of the worst types of debt collectors. The IRS does not use the phone this way and would also not use aggressive language to collect immediately on back taxes.
The IRS does not demand payment by debit or credit card over the phone
The scammers in this case are pushing their victims to load up prepaid debit cards to then transfer the money to an account over the phone. This is not a practice that the IRS partakes in.
This scam has been so successful because it plays on people’s fears and ignorance about official procedures. The most important thing you can do is stay up to date on your records and be 100% sure of your current standing with the IRS and other government agencies that collect taxes.
With that confidence and your knowledge of how the IRS actually works, you can feel confident to hang up on any fake IRS agents who may be looking to part you with your money this year.