Every year, many taxpayers are exposed to numerous scams related to the tax season. This season appears to be particularly bad. David Dewey, director of research at Pindrop Security, says that his company is seeing about 9,000 calls per day related to IRS scams.
We want to take the time and make sure everyone is aware of the problem and what to look out for.
The Big Scam
People impersonating IRS agents call taxpayers to let them know they owe taxes and demand an immediate payment. This is the first red flag: the IRS will never call demanding an immediate payment.
They will ask for payment via a prepaid debit card or wire transfer, which is a red flag.
Anyone refusing to pay is threatened with arrest, deportation, loss of business or driver’s license.
The calls are going out to the entire country; there doesn’t appear to be a specific segment targeted.
Why it’s Working
These are sophisticated scammers. They can rig the caller ID to make it appear like the call is coming from the IRS. In some cases, they may even know the last four digits of the victim’s Social Security number.
Some of the callers may even mention legitimate regulations and know the name of the district attorney in the victim’s area.
People are Being Passive
It’s estimated only about 20% of people getting hit by the scam are actually reporting it.
Experts also believe consumer awareness is not as effective as it should be. As the criminals get more sophisticated and intimidating, it’s easier to become a victim.
Don’t be passive. Ask questions. Hang up and call a real government number if you have to. Remember that a legitimate organization, including the IRS, will send you a bill in the mail before calling. The IRS also recognizes you have the right to appeal any amount you owe.
Report any suspicious calls to the IRS and don’t hesitate to contact us if you have a concern about your account.