2014 was an unusual tax year. Fraud was not only prevalent in the business world. It also affected the individual tax filings of many individuals whose return or refund was delayed because of possible fraud and identity theft.This fraud, however, was not limited to the individual or the business world. The IRS has its own unique set of fraud issues and scams of which we must all be aware of and vigilant against.
IRS Impersonation Telephone Scam
An aggressive and sophisticated phone scam targeting taxpayers has been making the rounds. Callers claim to be employees of the IRS and use fake names and bogus identification numbers. Victims are told they owe money and it must be paid through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfers. Or, victims may be told they have a refund due and try to trick the individual into sharing private information.
Email Phishing Scam
A victim receives an email that appears to be from the IRS. This email includes a link to a bogus web site which mirrors the official IRS web site. These emails contain the direction “you are to update your IRS immediately”. The emails mention USA.gov and irsgov. The IRS website is IRS.gov
The old adage, “if it sounds to be good to be true, it probably is”. This advice also refers to tax schemes and tax scams. Watch out for the possibility of fake charities . The IRS website has tax tools to check out the status of charitable organizations. Be wary of charities with names that are similar to nationally known organizations.
What the IRS will not do:
● The IRS will never call to demand payment without first having mailed you.
● Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal.
● Require you to use a specific method of payment – 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 groups to have you arrested for not paying taxes.
● Initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information.
● Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups
No matter how some things are sliced, they are still baloney. If someone tells you that you don’t have to pay taxes or will receive a refund for which you know you are not entitled, The old adage, “if it sounds to be good to be true, it probably is”.
What Consumers Can Do
● Never give out personal or financial information over the phone to anyone!
● Report suspicious emails to the IRS at firstname.lastname@example.org.
● Check out charities that you are unfamiliar with using the IRS.gov tool.
● Use common sense and don’t be afraid to call the authorities to check! It is better to be safe than sorry!
Kasperek & Co. Accountants wants the public to become more knowledgeable regarding the IRS and possible fraud.