IRS Scams: Happy Tax Season!

It’s coming. That dreaded day is coming. Tax Day. But not everyone loathes tax season. For some scammers, it’s payday. Thousands of people have lost personal information and countless amounts of money to tax scams. Here are a few common scams that the IRS warns consumers about.

First, note that the IRS does not:

  • Contact people via email or text messages.
  • Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. Generally, the IRS will first contact you by mail if you owe any taxes.
  • Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
  • Demand payment without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

Phone Calls Impersonating the IRS

One phone scam has been circulating involving a call from someone claiming to be part of the IRS, with a fake name and ID number. They demand to be paid through a gift card or wire transfer. When the victim doesn’t cooperate, they often become angry and threaten to do things from suspending a driver’s license to arrest or deportation. Some scammers even use video relay services (VRS) to scam deaf or hard of hearing victims, since VRS calls are not screened for validity.

Requesting W-2 Forms from Payroll Employees

Scammers who have done their homework may target people who work in a payroll office, emailing them a request for the W-2 forms of employees. If you think you may have received one of these emails, forward it to ITS at mailcop@etown.edu. If you have responded to one of these emails, please contact the Help Desk.

Phishing Emails

Some scammers have gotten very good at making emails appear to be official communications from the IRS. They will then try to acquire personal and financial information. These emails may even appear to be from a tax-related company that is not the IRS. Some scammers are even using text messaging to disseminate this scam. Be alert for emails and texts that ask for your personal information, even if they are official looking and include things like the IRS logo. If you think you may have received one of these emails, forward it to ITS at mailcop@etown.edu. If you have responded to one of these emails or text messages, please contact the Help Desk.

The IRS will never:

  • Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. Generally, the IRS will first contact you by mail if you owe any taxes.
  • Demand that you pay taxes without the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe. You should also be advised of your rights as a taxpayer.
  • Threaten to bring in local police, immigration officers or other law-enforcement to have you arrested for not paying. The IRS also cannot revoke your driver’s license, business licenses, or immigration status. Threats like these are common tactics scam artists use to trick victims into buying into their schemes.

 

For more information, visit the IRS website.

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