Beware of these Two New IRS Scams
Keeping their social security number safe is second nature to most people. If someone comes up to you on the street and asks for that type of personal information, you’d likely refuse. But what if someone calls you and tells you that your social security number is being suspended? Would you be able to tell a fraudster from an official?
The imposter scam is well known, and accounted for over half of the 535,417 IRS scams that were reported to the Federal Trade Commission - as well as costing consumers nearly $488 million in 2018. The IRS is currently warning the public of two new variations of scams that are presently tricking people all over the country.
The first is the classic social security number scam - but with a twist! Deciding to use some creative license with their fraudulent plan, scammers are calling unsuspecting people and threatening the suspension of their SSN unless they receive payment.
The second scam currently making its way across the nation is a fake IRS scam, in which the victim receives a letter in the mail threatening an IRS lien or levy. The letter claims that this is a result of delinquent taxes owed to the “Bureau of Tax Enforcement,” — a non-existent governmental agency.
It is crucial to be aware of anyone who calls you unexpectedly and claims to be from a government agency. Do not give them any personal information, or share your credit card details.
Here are some tips to help you avoid being caught out by a bogus IRS fraud scheme:
1. Always remember - the IRS does not call members of the public and demand immediate payment. They also do not demand money for taxes without allowing the taxpayer to question or appeal the amount owed. Furthermore, the IRS will not ask for your credit or debit card number over the phone.
2. Do not give any personal or financial information to people who call you. Similarly, if you receive a letter unexpectedly demanding payment from the IRS, do not contact the information on the letter. Call the official number for the government agent (844) 545-5640 and ask to speak to someone and verify the correspondence.
3. If you are contacted via mail, telephone or email by what you believe to be a fraudulent imposter of the IRS or another government department, contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration and report the contact. You can also report it to the IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting web page or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
4. Trust your instinct. If something doesn’t seem quite right, or you don’t believe that you owe that you are being told, err on the side of caution.
If you would like more information tax scams, head to IRS.gov. and visit the Tax Scams and Consumer Alerts page.