According to the Treasury Inspector General For Tax Administration, the IRS is aware of over 600,000 attempted tax scam contacts since October 2013. These fraudulent schemes have successfully cheated unsuspecting taxpayers out of over $20 million dollars. Forbes wrote an article recently revealing some of the details of commonly-used tax scams.
Scammers appear to often contact the most vulnerable taxpayers—including seniors and those whose native language is not English. However, with increasing regularity, any taxpayer, regardless of age or first-language background, is at risk of being contacted. The scammers pose as IRS agents and seek to solicit personal financial information or lure them into submitting bogus tax payments to them directly.
The sophistication of the schemes has grown in recent years, including the use of phone numbers that have been modified to display on caller ID as a government extension number and requests that tax payers email “receipts” to real IRS email addresses. The aggressive tactics used by tax scammers capitalize on intimidation, angrily pressuring those being contacted to make immediate payment or threatening arrest by local police.
Although the IRS isn’t most people’s favorite government agency, real IRS agents will never demand immediate payment, threaten arrest by local police, or request payment over the phone using a credit or debit card. If you’re contacted by a suspected scammer, the IRS encourages you to call the agency at 1-800-829-1040 to report the incident. Recognizing the traits of a tax scam can protect you from becoming one of the increasing number of victims.