Beware scams during tax season

Published 7:00 am Friday, March 13, 2015

The April deadline to file your taxes is approaching. So, as people prepare to receive a refund, or settle up, the threat of taxpayers being scammed is real.
There’s no shortage of scams that aim to take people’s money. This one involves people posing as IRS agents, who declare that the federal government is owed money, and that payment is due immediately.
The Associated Press reports that more than 3,000 people have become victims of the scam since 2013, conned out of a total of $15 million. The story states one taxpayer was conned out of $500,000.
Investigation into the scam shows that it could involve not just people from a foreign nation, but Americans as well. Two people in Florida have already been charged with involvement, with speculation swirling that they were working with call centers in India.
To protect yourself you should know what to look for. The scammers posing as IRS agents contact taxpayers by phone claiming they owe back taxes. Payment will be demanded by pre-paid debit card or through a wire transfer, the AP story states. Prepaid debit cards are requested because they are harder to track.
If the taxpayer refuses, then the caller will threaten jail time, deportation, and even the loss of a business or driver’s license.
To make detection more difficult, the caller may even know the last four digits of the target’s social security number.
What the IRS wants you to know is that they will never contact a person by phone first. According to the story, legitimate IRS agents attempt to contact people by mail. Additionally, payment is never requested immediately via a phone call.
With so many scams being created every day it’s hard to know if you’re being victimized, or if you really do owe money. The best course of action is to stay educated on the most recent scams going around, and protect your personal and financial information.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox