Many people are surprised to find out that there are people out there who pose as the IRS and contact you with the intent to defraud you. Unfortunately, it’s such a problem, that each year the IRS takes the time to put together a list of the most common IRS tax scams they are seeing. Just recently, the US Department of Justice took down a fraud ring of bogus IRS callers that had rung up their scam to the tune of $300 million.
In today’s blog, we’ll look at the three most common IRS tax scams to watch out for this year, including the persistent calling scam method that led to the above indictments.
By the time the US Department of Justice was able to take down the ring of scammers mentioned above, the group had already been able to extort $300 million from their method. Here’s how their operation works: you begin receiving persistent, non-stop phone calls from a call center based in India (and occasionally the United States) claiming they are the IRS and you owe a huge tax bill. That bill can only be paid by wire or prepaid card, and they will not stop aggressively contacting you until you pay.
Thousands of well-meaning people throughout the US were taken in by this scam, simply for trying to make good on what they thought was a legitimate tax debt. The scammers primarily targeted groups such as the elderly and young college students who didn’t know any better.
Believe it or not, there have been cases of a scammer taking someone’s social security number and filing a false return on their behalf. They then claim a fraudulent refund, collect it, and you’re left holding the bill. Identify theft is a very serious and concerning crime that can have a lasting impact on a person trying to untangle themselves from such a mess. When it comes to tax-related identity theft, you can’t be too cautious. The best way to handle tax identity theft is to avoid it before it starts, and be meticulous about the security measures you take and the extent to which you guard your personal data, especially online.
Related to the scam above, email phishing is one of the most pervasive and effective online scams around. Phishing refers to receiving an email from a seemingly legitimate source asking you to confirm personal information or your online credentials. When you enter your info, they have then successfully stolen your logins or the ability to pose as your identity across one or multiple sites. You can imagine how damaging this could be to your identity, finances, and status as a taxpayer.
Staying aware and informed of these and other common IRS tax scams can prevent you from finding yourself in a bad tax situation down the line. And remember, you can always consult with the experienced tax attorneys at Abajian Law if you have any concerns or questions regarding your taxes.