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Tax Scams: How to Protect Yourself

6

Tax Scammers Are Back At It Again

It’s that time of year again! Tax time. And while you’re busy gathering your W-2 and 1099’s, scammers are working to take advantage of the anxiety the IRS can cause.

According to The Internal Revenue Service, thousands of Americans fall for various schemes every year, with senior citizens being a common target.

So how can you prevent getting caught in a scheme?

Scammers Don’t Limit Themselves To One Avenue

Be aware that IRS tax scams can pop up anywhere: by mail, email, text message, telephone, and social media.

The IRS does NOT communicate with taxpayers by email, text message, or by social media. If you ever receive communication from someone claiming to be with the IRS through these means, note their email address, text number, and/or social media account, and sent it to the IRS (the reporting information is at the end of this email.)

The IRS will never ask you to: wire money, hand over cash, buy a gift card, or a pre-paid credit card to pay off a debt.

Checks should only ever be addressed to the “U.S. Treasury.”

The IRS will not ask for personal or financial information by phone, email, text, or via social media. While an agent of the IRS will verify your identity, if you receive a request for personal or financial information, the request is fraudulent.

Most communication from the IRS will come by snail mail. If you want to double check that the letter is legitimate, call 800-366-4484.

On the rare occasion that the IRS does call you, taxpayers will have generally received several mailed notices first.

And finally, if someone shows up at your door claiming to be from the IRS, don’t let them in.

Tips To Protect Yourself All The Time

Remember, tax time isn’t the only time that scammers are on the hunt. It’s a good idea to always be wary of communication from unexpected avenues.

If you aren’t sure, call or contact through a number or means you have used in the past to follow up. Shred any bank documents, tax documents, and sensitive information before you throw them away.

Report Scams To The IRS:

To report phone scams to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax, use their “IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting” webpage. You can also call 800-366-4484.

To report phone scams to the Federal Trade Commission, use the “FTC Complaint Assistant” on FTC.gov. Please add “IRS Telephone Scam” in the notes.

To report unsolicited email claiming to be from the IRS, or an IRS-related component like the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System, at [email protected]

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