What you should know about the latest tax scams
It’s that time of year again when tax scams seem to be more prevalent. A good reminder of just how widespread these tax scams are came across our SavingsAngel voicemail. The ROBO caller’s message said that there was “misconduct” detected and that we owe the feds a lot of money. Bottom line was to “call this number urgently to take care of it”. And there, folks, is where we have the proof that this was definitely a tax scam.
Since the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is the government agency that collects federal taxes, scammers pretend to be an IRS official in order to get you to send them money.
So how can you tell the caller is an imposter?
Take these tips from the FTC (Federal Trade Commission).
- The federal government typically will contact you by U.S. Mail first, not by phone or email.
- Federal agencies will not demand personal information like your Social Security Number or bank account number over the phone. Also, just because the caller knows details about you, doesn’t mean he/she is trustworthy.
- The caller typically asks you to send money – often via wire transfer, by using a prepaid debit card, or maybe by sending you a fake check to cash. Federal agencies will not ask you to use any of these methods to send money for any reason.
What should you do?
- Hang up. Do not give out any personal or financial information.
- Contact the Department of Health and Human Services OIG at 1-800-HHS-TIPS (1-800-447-8477) or [email protected]
- File a complaint with the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint or 877-FTC-HELP.
- Learn more about government imposter scams and sign up for the FTC’s Scam Alerts.
- Pass on what you’ve learned to older consumers and others.
Bear in mind that scams like this are prevalent no matter the time of year and no matter who the caller claims to be. It’s best to be on your guard at all times when anyone that you do not know contacts you by phone and wants to “verify” any of your personal information for whatever reason. Chances are that if you have not contacted them first, it is part of some kind of scam.
More good reads that you won't want to miss:
Stop lending the IRS your cash, time to get it back
How to maintain the real you, eight must-read tips (Defending yourself against identity theft)