Identity theft is on the rise (especially during tax season) and thieves are smarter than ever. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has launched numerous campaigns and resources to inform taxpayers on how to spot a potential theft and what to do if you become a victim. Our firm and professionals have fought this fight on behalf of our clients, and it’s not an easy road. Here are a few tips so you can be on the lookout:
- The IRS will NOT send you an email asking for your personal tax information or banking information.
- The IRS will NOT call you and threaten to put you in jail if you don’t send them an immediate payment—or (of all things!) thousands of dollars in iTunes gift cards.
- The IRS will NEVER ask you to provide a credit card number over the phone or ask for payment using a wire transfer.
At a recent meeting, an IRS spokesperson shared a few examples of the extreme measures taken by fraudsters to get payments. In one example, an identity thief threatened to call the SWAT team to arrest the individual when they refused to send money.
These type of scams continue to target taxpayers in an attempt to get social security numbers, banking information or to extort money.
For many people, any contact directly with the IRS can be stressful and scary. Keep in mind that these scams play right into our darkest fears—the “Taxman” is after us!
If you think you’ve been a target, here are a few recommended actions:
- HANG UP THE PHONE
Then call our office at (269) 381-7600 –OR– call the IRS directly at (800) 829-1040
- REPORT FAKE EMAILS
Forward them to the IRS (email@example.com)
- DON’T SEND ANY MONEY
Even if you think you may owe some back taxes, call us first!
- DON’T REPLY, OPEN or CLICK
If it’s an email, don’t reply to the sender OR click anything (links, images or the message second time)
Due to the growth of the digital world, it’s unfortunate but very likely that these scams will continue and increase in volume during the upcoming filing season. The IRS has teamed up with state revenue departments and tax professionals to help combat these threats. Please call us if you have any concerns that a phone call or emails are “phishy.”