Scammers’ tactics are always evolving to try to stay ahead of the news in an attempt to catch individuals off guard. This is especially true during tax season. We hear the warnings on the evening news and in news articles. PBGW wants to remind all our clients to be aware of the tactics that have been used and to be wary of anyone—no matter how convincing or how threatening they may be—who may be trying to gain access to your personal information or bank account information.
The IRS will not contact taxpayers by way of email, text messages, or social media to request personal or financial information, and they generally won’t rely on phone contact unless they’ve already sent several notices via the United States Postal Service. When the IRS does request payment, the IRS representatives will always ask that payments be made to the United States Treasury and they will give you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed. The IRS will NOT call to demand payment via a prepaid debit card, gift card, credit or debit card, or wire transfer. Nor will they threaten to send the police or other law-enforcement officials to arrest you, or threaten deportation or the suspension of your business or your driver’s license. If a caller uses any of these tactics or becomes hostile or insulting, it should tip you off that he/she is trying to scam you out of your hard-earned money.
Regardless of what your caller ID shows and the personal information the caller may have about you, which might lead you to believe that he/she is the official they say they are, don’t let your guard down. The Internet has more details about you than you care to know, all accessible with a few clicks of a mouse, and scammers can use caller ID spoofing to make the number appear as “IRS” on your phone. The top area codes from which these scams are currently coming are 202 (Washington, DC), 206 (Seattle), 314 (St Louis), 315 (New York), 415 (San Francisco), 470 (Atlanta), 631 (Long Island, NY), 646 (NY City), and 786 (Miami). To report IRS phone scams, you may call the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 800-366-4484 and/or contact the Federal Trade Commission at www.FTCcomplaintassistant.gov.
Now that some taxpayers may be expecting a refund, scammers may be sending emails posing as the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel (TAP) concerning your refund. Do not respond or click the links embedded in the email. TAP does not deal with individual taxpayer’s refunds, nor will they request individual taxpayer’s information. If you receive such an email, you can make the IRS aware of it by forwarding it to [email protected].
Of course, if you have concerns about an issue with the IRS or receive an IRS notice, we encourage you to contact your accountant and let them help you resolve the issue.