The Equifax Breach is Frightening. Know the Common Tax Scams to Protect Yourself.
September 11, 2017
If you are like most Americans, you are concerned about the recent Equifax data breach. If you haven't already, go to the FTC website to determine what steps you should take to protect your identity and your savings.
In light of this development, we thought it would be helpful to share some of the most common tax scams so you can keep your personal and tax information confidential.
How the IRS Contacts Taxpayers Typically, the IRS will contact you through regular mail delivered by the USPS. They will never initiate contact via email, texts, or through other social media outlets. In special cases, the IRS will attempt to contact you in person, but these cases are usually limited to delinquent taxes, audits or criminal investigations.
Ways the IRS Will Never Contact You As posted on the IRS website, they will never:
Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer.
Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement.
Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
Most Common Tax Scams
“Robo-call Messages” asking the victim for an immediate call back or else a warrant will be issued for their arrest.
Private Debt Collection Scams- Taxpayers should be on the lookout for scammers posing as private collection firms. The IRS-authorized firms will only be calling about a tax debt the person has had – and has been aware of – for years. The IRS would have previously contacted taxpayers about their tax debt.
Some scams target victims with limited proficiency in English, threatening deportation, police arrest, and license revocation. These scammers tell the victims they owe money immediately, which must be paid promptly by preloaded debit card, gift card, or wire transfer.
A new EFTPS (Electronic Federal Tax Payment System) scam has been reported nationwide, where the caller claims to have tried to contact the taxpayer by certified letter, which has failed and been returned to sender. Like other scams, the victim is asked to pay a balance due immediately, only using specific forms of payment. The victim is also told not to contact their tax preparer, attorney, or local IRS office until after payment is made.
If you are ever contacted directly by someone about a tax debt or problem with your taxes and aren't sure what to do, don't give them any information. If you are worried and want to check your tax situation, contact the IRS directly or your tax professional.