Happy Tax Season everyone! It’s the time of year to go through all of your records, receipts, W-2’s, statements, donation documents and more to try to get some of that cash you overpaid to ol’ Uncle Sam. Unfortunately, it’s also that time of year where scammers will contact you via phone, email, and (in some cases) social media accounts (fo’ real, tho?), claim that they’re from the IRS and threaten that they’ll contact the authorities if you don’t pay up. SPOILER ALERT: the IRS is NOT calling you, they WILL NOT threaten you with police action, and they WILL NOT demand that you pay them money at that exact moment. File this warning under “a representative from Microsoft” and/or “a representative from Windows” will NEVER contact you about a computer issue you’re having; I had to educate THREE people at my church of that AGAIN this past week in UNDER a 24-HOUR PERIOD.
On the IRS’s official website, they explain via this guide that “the IRS doesn’t initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or social media channels to request personal or financial information.” In addition, the IRS will never:
- Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. Generally, the IRS will first mail a bill to any taxpayer who owes taxes.
- Demand that you pay taxes without the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe. You should also be advised of your rights as a taxpayer.
- Threaten to bring in local police, immigration officers or other law-enforcement to have you arrested for not paying. The IRS also cannot revoke your driver’s license, business licenses, or immigration status. Threats like these are common tactics scam artists use to trick victims into buying into their schemes.
These lowly scammers that call will claim to be IRS employees, and they’ll use fake names and fake IRS identification badge numbers, and will likely make the caller ID LOOK LIKE the agency is really calling. If you get a call from a scammer like that, you can report it to the IRS here. HOWEVER, should the IRS REALLY call you, a REAL IRS representative will ALWAYS provide TWO forms of official credentials:
1) A Pocket Commission
2) A HSPD-12 card.
I hope we all learned something new and/or have been refreshed on this information today. I look forward to the day when I never have to hear about some lowly, scamming thieves swerving anyone else out of they’re hard-earned money.