Tax Season Means Scam Season: What to Watch for
By Alan Olsen
Tax season means a lot of things. It means organized taxpayers are already preparing their returns and getting ready for their refunds. It means disorganized taxpayers are scrambling to find everything theyneed just to start their returns. It means accountants are busy helping both organized and disorganized taxpayers file their returns. And it means procrastinators are shoving the very thought of taxes into the furthest regions of their minds. Indeed, tax season means a lot of things to a lot of different people. It also means taxpayers need to be on guard because tax season means scam season.
Be on the Lookout for Scammers
This is the busiest time of the year for scam artists to steal your tax refund, and even your identity, if possible. There are all kinds of tax scams to watch out for so you need to be prepared. Here are some tips to keep you informed and on alert, so you can avoid getting scammed out of your tax refund.It all starts with being aware of how the IRS actually operates. There are some things that the agency simply will not do. If you ever come across someone claiming to work for the IRS who tries to useone of these tactics, then you are dealing with a scam.
They Won’t Demand Payment
The IRS will not demand specific types of payments, such as wire payments, debit cards or gift cards. If you owe money you simply make a payment to the U.S. Treasury. The IRS also allows you to set up payment plans so the money is rarely due all at once.
They Won’t Ask for Personal Info or Account Numbers
The IRS will never ask for credit card or debit card numbers over the phone. If you ever get a call demanding tax payment then simply hang up. It’s a scam. You can make note of the number and send the information to the IRS at firstname.lastname@example.org.
They Won’t Threaten You
The IRS will never threaten to have you arrested or deported. The agency will not threaten to revoke your business license or driver’s license, either. The IRS will contact you via USPS to inform you of any issues. The letter will include instructions for the next steps.The IRS will also allow you to appeal any issues and they offer several ways to resolve these issues.
They Use USPS
The IRS will not generally contact you via telephone, social media,or email. They might call you but only after you have received a notification in the mail first. If you receive any emails, social media messages, or phone calls from someone claiming to work for the IRS, send the message to the IRS via email and then delete the message. Never click on any links in any of these messages. Likewise, do not open any attachments or give out any passwords. Avoiding a tax scam is not hard if you know what to look for. Follow these simple guidelines and your tax season should be a safe one.