Scams are all coming at us from all directions these days. Scams designed for the purpose of stealing your personal information, and ultimately your hard-earned money. Today, many of these dirty tricks happen through the Internet, but there are still people who try to deceive you the old-fashioned way – through the telephone.
For the last few months, and especially the last 7 days, I have received 4 to 6 calls a day from a person claiming to be with the IRS, telling me that the IRS is going to sue me. I know that I don’t have any issues with the IRS and knew right away that this was a scam, so I did a little bit of research and found that I’m not the only one getting these calls, not by a long shot.
I learned that the IRS will never:
- 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 bring in local police or other law-enforcement to have you arrested for not paying.
If you are not sure, you can always call the IRS (1-800-829-1040) and inquire if there are any outstanding problems with your taxes.
According to the IRS, not all scams claim you owe money and threaten you with legal action if you don’t pay. Other scammers may tell you that a mistake was made and you are owed a refund, at which point they will ask for your banking information in order to transfer the refund to you.
Just Hang Up.
If you get one of these calls just hang up and take down the phone # from your caller ID, which you can then report to the FTC. However, the IRS warns that there are sophisticated scammers who are able to disguise the number they are calling from and even use a phony # that will show up on your caller ID as the IRS.
Also, beware of any unsolicited emails or text messages regarding your taxes. The IRS does not use these methods to discuss your tax issues. If you get one of these you can be assured it’s a scam.
The statistics from 2014 show that there were close to 100,000 complaints made from taxpayers regarding these types of scams. There were approximately 1,100 victims who lost an estimated $5 million to these scammers.
Never Give Out Any Information.
Don’t be a victim to this scam or the countless others out there. Never give out banking or personal information to an unsolicited caller. Don’t be intimidated by fake threats of arrest or legal action. But most of all, educate yourself, your friends and family members about these scams.
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