Scammers love to use current events to try and trick people out of money. Since tax season is starting, you can expect that IRS scams will also be reappearing. There are several common tactics that IRS scammers use, but the IRS does NOT do. Knowing these red flags can help keep your money and personal information safe.
The IRS does NOT:
• Initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text message, or social media to request personal or financial information. Always be wary of someone requesting sensitive information through these channels.
• Call to demand immediate payment with a specific method. We’ve mentioned before that scammers like to have you send money with gift cards and wire transfers. Anyone insisting on these forms of payment should automatically raise a red flag.
• Demand you pay taxes without option to question or appeal the amount. Scammers frequently use pressure tactics, like insisting you pay immediately and without question.
• Threaten to bring in local police, immigration, or other law enforcement to arrest you for non-payment. This is a scare tactic scammers use in hopes that you don’t question their claims and pay up quick.
• Revoke driver’s licenses, business licenses, or immigration status. This is another scare tactic used to stress and trick you into paying before you have time to think critically.
What the IRS DOES do:
• Mail the first bill to any taxpayer who owes taxes.
• Instructs payments be made to the “United States Treasury”.
• Provide two forms of official credentials for in-person visits.
• Notify you by mail if your tax debt has been sent to a private collection agency. The collection agency will also send you a contact letter with information on how to resolve the debt.
• Notify you by mail before attempting to make contact over the phone regarding an audit.
For more information about tax scams, visit the IRS website.