Don’t fret. This post will prepare you to avoid these scams and keep your money in your pocket, where it belongs.
Fact: The IRS will never, ever call you on the phone. It’s not their M.O. They’ll only call if you’ve asked for it, which we suspect you probably never would.
So when you or someone you know receives a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, it’s a scam.
It’ll often go down like this:
Someone will call you and claim they’re with the IRS. The scammers will demand you pay taxes they claim you owe (completely fabricated). Some may try to con you by saying that you’re due a refund—a fake lure so you’ll give them your banking or other private financial information.
It’s dangerous because these con-artists will often sound convincing when they call. They may know a lot of personal information about you. They may even alter the caller ID to make it look like the IRS is calling. If you don’t answer, they often leave an “urgent” callback request.
Here are five things that scammers do, but the IRS will never. Any one of these five things is a sign of a scam. The IRS does not:
- Call you to demand immediate payment. The IRS will not call about taxes you owe without first mailing you a bill.
- Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the chance to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
- Require you to use a certain payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.
- Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
- Threaten to summon police or other law-enforcement to have you arrested for not paying.
What if I get called?
If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS and asking for money, here’s what to do:
If a person calls claiming to be from the IRS, be calm and ask for their badge number, the number they’re calling from, and their name. Then take that information and call the IRS at 800-829-1040. Once you get connected to a representative, let them know you received a call from a potential-scammer and ask them to verify what the person claimed.
If you know you don’t owe taxes or have no reason to believe that you do, also report the incident to TIGTA at 1.800.366.4484 or at www.tigta.gov.
Remember, the IRS currently does not use unsolicited email, text messages or any social media to discuss your personal tax issues, either.
Be smart this tax season; IRS scammers are working to take your money from you. We hope this guide helps you avoid them.
If you need more help understanding your taxes, please visit our live chat at our website (www.semaphoretax.com) to get in contact with one of our experienced tax professionals, or call us at 866-736-2444. We’re excited to hear from you!