There are three letters, when spoken or printed together that can frighten nearly everyone – IRS. Yes, the Internal Revenue Service is not an organization to take lightly. Even if you are an honest taxpayer who does everything by the book, the thought of a phone call from the IRS can probably send chills down your spine. The IRS is fully authorized to collect tax debt, and there is a valid reason for all of us to take this government agency very seriously.
It is the bit of fear that we all have of the IRS that has given scammers the ability to con people out of their hard earned cash. The scam is usually a variation of someone calling you, pretending to be from the IRS, telling you that you owe them money and then working to bilk you out of your cash. People who get nervous at the thought of an audit or who simply don’t understand how these kinds of scams work wind up getting suckered into forking over their hard earned money.
It is important to know how to identify a tax scam. Here are some tips that should help you to do so with ease…
- Remember that the IRS does not practice calling people on the phone about tax debts. Instead, they send professional, courteous letters to inform you of these types of issues. They will even follow up with additional letters if you don’t respond, but they should never be calling you on the phone out of the blue.
- The IRS would not demand that you wire money to take care of tax debt. The phone scammers seek this form of payment quite frequently.
- The IRS does not threaten to have the police come to take you in. If you get on the line with a phony IRS person who talks about having you arrested, ignore them and hang up the phone.
- The IRS does not accept iTunes cards or other types of gift/debit cards as payment for tax money that is owed to them. Believe it or not, a lot of scammers demand payment in iTunes cards, and people actually believe them!
As is often the case, many of the victims of these kinds of scams happen to be senior citizens. These scenarios can be quite sad. Here is a story about one such situation that happened recently – “A member of our family was targeted and unfortunately fell for this scam not long ago. Being elderly he didn’t understand that the IRS is NEVER going to call you to demand money. Fortunately for him, the bank teller stopped the transaction when she realized it was indeed a scam.”
Folks – scammers of all sorts love to target older people. If you have older friends and relatives, be sure to let them know about these kinds of scams, and inform them how to avoid them. These calls often come in the middle of the morning or early afternoon. However, there are so many groups working to pull off these kinds of scams that the calls can come in at any time. Many of the people who make these calls have very heavy accents and some have a difficult time understanding English. Not every person who calls that has an accent is a scammer, but it is fair to mention this in an article that is about the most recent wave of IRS phone scams.
Bottom line – even if you do owe money to the IRS they are not going to cold call you. Don’t verify any information, give credit/debit card information, wire money to or purchase any gift cards for any of these types of tax scam telephone calls.