The Internal Revenue Service has issued several warnings about scamming tactics targeted toward taxpayers. Beware of phone, email, text, and social media attempts to obtain your sensitive data.
There have been reports of fake phone calls and emails, and taxpayers should be aware of the signs of a scam – even after the filing deadline. Scammers may alter the caller ID to appear as if they are calling from the IRS, use bogus badge IDs, and use fake names. Specifically, the criminals may use tactics such as “urgent” robo-calls, calling to “verify” tax return information, pretending to be from the tax preparation industry, or soliciting W-2 information from payroll and human resource departments. In addition, they may demand money for a bogus “tax bill” and threaten the taxpayer with arrest, deportation, or revocation of a driver’s license.
For your protection, be aware that the IRS will never:
· Call to demand immediate payment
· Call about taxes owed without mailing a bill first
· Threaten to immediately bring law-enforcement to arrest you
· Demand payment of taxes without offering the opportunity to appeal the amount they say you owe
· Require a specific payment method i.e. prepaid debit card
· Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone
Also, be aware of emails that appear official but are not. Scammers are getting better at imitating the look of real organizations that you trust. Never reply to emails, texts, or pop-up messages seeking personal information. There may be malware that infects your electronic device and allows access to your computer or tracks your key stokes to gain information. And, never click on the links. Instead, go directly to the organization’s website. Often these links take you to official looking fake websites that may also carry malware and attempt to get your personal data.
A sample of what to look for in subject lines and text:
· Variations on tax refund
· Updates on filing details
· References to W-2s
· Get/Request/Verify IP Pin
· Get/Request/Verify e-File Pin
· Ordering a transcript
· Complete/Confirm tax return information
· Filing status
What do you do if you receive a suspicious phone call or email? For phone calls – hang up immediately, contact TIGTA at 800-366-4484, and then report the call to the FTC Complaint Assistant on FTC.gov. For emails – do not respond to the email(s) or click on the links. Instead, forward suspicious emails to the IRS through email@example.com.
For more information, please call the office of Ronald Castor LC at 913.469.9113.