season approaches, taxpayers need to be on alert for the annual surge in IRS
tax scams. Tax
fraud can come in many different forms, but it is typically perpetrated through
phone scams and email phishing. As with any type of scam, you are the first and
last line of defense, so it is important to understand how tax scammers work
and what to do when you are confronted with one.
various IRS phone scams you might encounter are too numerous to list here. But
all you need to know to avoid becoming a victim is that the IRS, or any federal
agency for that matter, never initiates contact with taxpayers by phone call.
The IRS never leaves prerecorded messages.
The IRS never initiates contact with texts.
The IRS never asks for a credit or debit card
number over the phone.
receive a phone call or prerecorded message from someone claiming to represent
the IRS, simply hang up. Then immediately contact the Treasury Inspector
General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) at 800-366-4484 or at www.tigta.gov to report the call.
have become very adept at masking their intent with legitimate looking emails.
this: The IRS never initiates contact by email. If you receive an email
purporting to be from the IRS or anyone claiming to represent the IRS, delete
it immediately. Do not click on any links. Then report the incident by emailing
[email protected] with the
subject line “IRS Impersonation Scam.”
that an increasing number of people are on to fake IRS phone calls and emails,
tax scammers are resorting to snail mail. Here’s what you need to know about
phony IRS letters:
A legitimate IRS letter is contained in a
government envelope with the IRS seal prominently displayed.
A real IRS letter includes a notice or letter
number in the upper right corner. If there’s no number, it’s phony.
The IRS always includes its contact
information – typically an 800 number – near the top of the letter.
A legitimate IRS letter also includes
information about your rights as a taxpayer.
Any IRS collection letter provides your payment
options with an option to pay online at www.IRS.gov/payments. If the letter asks you to write a check to any
party other than the U.S. Treasury or provide credit or debit card information
over the phone, the letter is a fake.