Just like Benjamin Franklin said, ‘in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.’ Indeed, it’s entirely possible that he is right, given that it comes around every year without fail, and unfortunately, so do new tax scams. So, let’s talk about the new thing scammers are doing to terrorize people, because ‘it ain’t pretty.’
As we posted last year, scammers called people posing as the IRS and demanded payment for delinquent taxes or legal action was going to be taken. This year, scammers are doing much of the same, but they’ve figured out a way to up the ante.
Criminals have figured out a way to make it harder for taxpayers to figure out if they’re being scammed or not. In case you didn’t know already, there’s a thing called spoofing – a tactic used by people to have the phone number they’re calling from look like another number. Scammers have found a way to make the number’s they’re calling from reflect legitimate IRS phone numbers.
Unfortunately, this is why people tend to answer the phone. Once that happens, the scammer demands money for payment, usually via debit card. Sometimes the scammer will even hang up, give you enough time to double check the number they’re calling from, and then call back a second time and again ask for payment.
The bad news is that it’s not illegal for people to call from ‘fake’ numbers. The FCC prohibits people using a misleading caller ID number if their intent is to defraud, cause harm, or get something of value. Now, that sounds exactly like the illegal activity the scammers are doing, right? That it is, but there’s basically no way to track down these scammers, so not a whole lot can be done.
Have no fear, though, we’re here to always keep you up-to-date on the latest tax news, especially scams. It’s our job to keep you in-the-know so you can protect yourself from these people. So, here are a few things to remember in regards to the IRS:
- The IRS DOES NOT demand you use a specific payment method, such as a prepaid debit card or a wire transfer. They also DO NOT ask for debit or credit card numbers over the phone.
- The IRS DOES NOT demand you pay taxes without the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed. The key here is that the IRS will first snail mail a bill. If you haven’t gotten a notice in the mail, odds are you might be getting scammed.
- Lastly, the IRS DOES NOT threaten to bring in local police, immigration officers, or other law enforcements agencies if the taxpayer does not pay. Even more so, the IRS CANNOT revoke a driver’s license, business license, or immigration status.
If you’ve received these types of threatening calls, please realize they are scams and are not to be trusted. If you’re not sure, please feel free to contact us and we’ll go over things with you. When in doubt, keep all your personal information to yourself, don’t answer calls from unknown numbers, and seek out help from us or call the IRS directly.
As always, stay vigilant my friends!