How to Spot and Avoid IRS Scams

Posted on Feb 1, 2017 in Fraud

For information on the most current trends in IRS scams, please see the updated article here

Every year, we get numerous e-mails and calls from clients who report that someone from the IRS is demanding money right away for past due amounts. These demands are followed by a threat of arrest, lawsuit, deportation, or other acts of intimidation.

These communications are IRS scams.

IRS scams are usually made via phone call, voice-mail, e-mails, and even text messages.  These scam perpetrators impersonate IRS agents and will have your personal details, including your name, address, and telephone numbers.  The scammers will also try to convince you of their legitimacy by providing a fake IRS badge number. These calls are happening more frequently and you, as a taxpayer, should be aware of these scams and how to spot them.

According to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), more than 1.8 million people have reported IRS impersonation calls.  As of September 2016, more than 9,000 scam victims have been bilked out of more than $49 million. The top five states with losses are California, New York, Texas, Illinois, and Florida.

Here are some tips to look for in case a scammer contacts you.  The IRS will never:

  • Call you without first contacting you via regular mail.
  • Demand immediate payment of the taxes due without giving you the opportunity to question and/or appeal the tax amount due.
  • Require you to use a specific payment method, which can include prepaid debit cards, iTunes cards, and Amazon gift cards. The IRS will also never ask for a credit or debit card number over the phone.
  • Threaten you with a lawsuit, arrest, and/or deportation.
  • Use unsolicited e-mail, text messages, or any social media to discuss personal tax issues.

If you receive an e-mail that is supposedly from the IRS, do not click on a link in the e-mail or open up any attachments.  You can verify if you have an outstanding notice by calling the IRS at 1-800-829-1040. If you need to pay the IRS via a bank account, credit card, or debit card, go directly to their website at www.IRS.gov/payments to make payment.

If you believe that you are on the phone with an IRS impersonator, hang up immediately. When in doubt regarding having any outstanding notices or payments due to the IRS, you should either call your CPA or call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040.

You can report scams/impersonations to TIGTA via www.tigta.gov or 1-800-366-4484.

As tax season is now upon us, these scams will only increase in frequency. Be vigilant, and if you have any questions please reach out to your Clark Nuber advisor.

© 2017 Clark Nuber PS All Rights Reserved

This article or blog contains general information only and should not be construed as accounting, business, financial, investment, legal, tax, or other professional advice or services. Before making any decision or taking any action, you should engage a qualified professional advisor.

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Clark Nuber
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