Every year, thousands of people lose personal information as well as millions of dollars due to scammers posing as the IRS or other similar organizations. Whether it is over the phone, through emails, or even by going right to your door, this threat is present to anyone and everyone. In order to avoid these scams, there are a few telltale signs to know what it is you are dealing with.
First and foremost, you need to know what the IRS themselves do. They will never initiate contact through texting, social media, or emails. More often than not, the IRS also tends to send multiple mail notices to a person before going directly to a house. They also will never threaten to arrest you for not paying, revoke your driver’s license, or anything similar. They also will have official ID’s on them, a pocket commission and a HSPD-2 card, both of which you are legally allowed to ask to see. In addition, all owed payments should be made out to the United States Treasury. If someone claiming to be an IRS representative does not fit the criteria, there might be cause to worry.
There are many common scams to look for if you are wary. The first one is anything relating to Social Security Numbers. A scammer may threaten to cancel your SSN in order to scare you into giving up information. There are also possibilities of telephone calls demanding you pay owed money through gift cards or wire transfers, them claiming it is urgent. There are even emails that use tax transcripts to entice a person to open documents laced with malware. Even though these three instances are some of the most common, you should be on the lookout for anything suspicious.
If you have fallen victim to a scam such as these, the IRS says to report it here in order to get help. You can also go to law enforcement for assistance. It is much easier to avoid the scams in the first place, though. Know the signs, and avoid these life altering scam artists.