The Treasury Department is well aware of all the tax scams that are going around, however, many residents aren’t aware of this problem and may give away their information as well as a large sum of their money to people who are pretending to be the IRS. The Treasury has found that the incidences of these scams happens the most in the summer, probably due to people going on vacation, not wanting to be bothered by taxes that they may or may not owe and having relatives who are staying with you answer the phone. Being aware of these scams and knowing how to avoid them is important when it comes to safeguarding both your identity and your finances.
What is a Tax Scam?
These scammers will often call your house line or your cellphone and tell you that you owe a large sum of money to the IRS in the form of back taxes. They claim that you have not paid the tax and that if you fail to pay, you will be arrested. Many of these scammers even scare residents saying that if they do not pay immediately, that police are on their way to arrest them. If you aren’t aware that this is a scam, this can be an incredibly frightening phone call to receive. No one likes to be told that they are going to be arrested for something they’re not even aware of. Because so many people don’t understand how the IRS actually works, they may fall for this scam and send the scammer money.
What to Look For
One thing to look for when it comes to a scam is that it’s done over the phone. The IRS will never contact you by phone, instead conducting all of their business by mail that is stamped and certified. The IRS will also not threaten to arrest you, especially if you haven’t even gotten the chance to work closely with them to develop a payment plan. The IRS isn’t the enemy, since they will often work with people to develop payments that they can afford on back taxes before even considering getting police involved. Next, you’ll notice that the form of payment that these scammers often want is through money transfers and gift cards. The IRS will never accept payment for any unpaid tax with a gift card to a store. Be aware that these scammers not only demand payment for unpaid taxes that they expect immediately, but they also strive to gain personal information to steal your identity, so be careful not to give these people any information over the phone.
Alert The IRS
If you suspect that you’ve been scammed or that you have been contacted by one of these scammers, it is important that you alert the IRS through their proper telephone number. You can give them information pertaining to the number that called you as well as any names that the scammer used, and they will be able to help catch these criminals so that they do not scam anyone else of their hard-earned money.