Owing taxes to the IRS can be very scary. Scammers take advantage of your fear to separate you from your money by dishonest means. Scammers are very good at making themselves seem real—they can make a fake website look real; they can alter their telephone number in your caller ID to look like the caller is from IRS, often with a Washington, DC area code.
Thieves use taxpayers’ natural fear of the IRS and other government entities to ply their scams, including e-mail and phone scams, to steal your money. They also use phishing schemes to trick you into divulging your SSN, date of birth, account numbers, passwords and other personal data that allow them to scam the IRS and others using your name and destroy your credit in the process. They are clever and are always coming up with new and unique schemes to trick you.
These scams have reached epidemic proportions, and this article will hopefully provide you with the knowledge to identify scams and avoid becoming a victim.
The very first thing you should be aware of is that the IRS never initiates contact in any other way than by U.S. mail. So if you receive an e-mail or a phone call out of the blue with no prior contact, then it is a scam. DO NOT RESPOND to the e-mail or open any links included in the e-mail. If it is a phone call, simply HANG UP.
Additionally, it is important for taxpayers to know that the IRS:
As the end of the year approaches, you will probably be besieged by requests from charitable organizations for contributions. The holiday season is the favorite time of the year for charities to solicit donations.
But you should be aware that it is also the time of year when scammers show up in force, pretending to be legitimate charities in hopes of deceiving you into giving them your hard-earned money.
When making a donation, you should take a few extra minutes to ensure your gifts are going to legitimate charities. IRS.gov has a search feature, Exempt Organizations Select Check, which allows people to find legitimate, qualified charities to which donations may be tax-deductible. Read More
As the tax season heats up, so does the activity of the scammers. These scammers, who feed on people’s innate fear of the IRS, use this opportunity to place themselves right at the top of their game. I have heard of many instances of people receiving calls from individuals purporting to be IRS officers, who are making demands for payment of taxes on underreported income, and threatening imprisonment and/or seizure of assets if you do not comply with their demands. Also, they seek to obtain your personal information in the process.
Allow me to state categorically that these people are NOT IRS officers! When the IRS raises an assessment, they NEVER contact you initially by telephone. The typical MO of the IRS is to send you a written notice in the mail. This notice gives you the opportunity Read More
Most of my clients from around the world make their initial contact by email. It is usually a result of my website, blog posts (published on Tax Connections) and Avvo. Usually, they need a lawyer to negotiate a contract or deal with the IRS or State Tax agencies.
When I get an email from a foreign business, even if the English is not perfect, I respond. Unfortunately, the scam artists love a response and try their version of the famous “Nigerian Scam.” The trick usually works that I need to review a simple contract, receive payment from the buyer, deposit it in my trust account and immediately send the money (minus an unusually hefty fee) to them. Of course the check is no good and they will sucker me. Read More