- April 2, 2019
- Matthew F. Fox
It’s the beginning of April and the deadlines of tax season are just around the corner. Whether you’re waiting for your refund or just getting ready to file, you’ll need to be on the lookout for tax-related scammers looking to cash in.
According to the IRS thousands fall for various schemes, many of which are either via emails or phone calls. Over the past several years scams have become increasingly complex, even using social media and text messages to separate you from your hard-earned money.
Postal Mail, In Person, or Nothing
If the IRS needs to reach out, they’ll do so by using one of two methods – either postal mail or in person. While this may seem low-tech, and it is, it makes it very easy to detect if you are being scammed.
Postal mail is the most common method the IRS will use to contact you. If you receive a piece of mail from the IRS, you can contact your local IRS office to confirm that it is genuine. If you suspect that it isn’t genuine, you can report it to the IRS at their IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting page.
In very rare cases, the IRS will call you. These situations are typically related to overdue bills, delinquent tax returns or payments, or an audit. If you receive a phone call, you can always end the conversation and contact your local IRS office directly.
Keep Your Wallet Closed
Never provide payment information unless you are directed to make a payment via check to the U.S. Treasury.
The IRS will not make requests for payments with a credit or debit card, gift cards, or other forms of currency. You can pay your taxes online, and learn about other methods here, but the IRS will never directly request a credit card number from you. If a direct request for a credit or debit card to settle an alleged debt is made, you are being scammed.
If you receive an email or phone call that you believe is a scam, report it to the IRS. Reporting scams isn’t just a good protective measure to take for yourself, it also helps prevent the same scam from reaching others.
Remember, these scams are specifically designed to keep you from your tax return. It’s your money, so be on the lookout for scams and keep it safe and in your pocket – not someone else’s.
If you believe that you’ve received a scam phone call, contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration to report it. You can do so via the IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting page or by calling (800) 366-4484.
If you’ve received an unsolicited email that claims to be from the IRS, you can report it by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
While most tax scams are directed at individuals, businesses are at just as much risk, and the implementation of security best practices and undergoing security training can help your staff identify and avoid tax scam-related threats and more.
Valiant Technology offers email security training, as well as other trainings relevant to the modern workplace. Learn more about staff trainings here or get in touch to schedule one for your business.