The Two Biggest Tax Scams You Must be Aware Of

If scammers end up reaching out to you this tax season, it will likely be through one of these two avenues – phone calls or emails. Although this is quite broad, it’s important to know the following about each potential attack.

Fake Phone Calls

First, scammers will mask their caller ID so it reflects an IRS number. Next, they will falsify their names and titles, in an attempt to create some sort of legitimacy to their fraudulent identity. Then, they will do one of two things. They will either claim you have an outstanding debt with the IRS, which must be paid over the phone, at that time. Or, they will claim to have a refund that wasn’t properly distributed, and they need personal information to process the remaining refund amount.

Phishing Emails

As if calling wasn’t enough, scammers have found sending malicious phishing emails to the masses is a much faster payday than individually calling people. These emails have one primary goal — to generate urgency for the reader to act. This action may be clicking on a link, calling a phone number, or downloading an attachment. The email will likely make similar claims as the phone scams, either the victim “owes” funds, or is getting “refund”. Regardless — it is fake.

Don’t Fall For This

It is important users understand, the IRS will never reach out to you via telephone or email. If you legitimately owe the IRS money, or are privy to an additional refund, they will reach out to you via the United States Postal Service, either through standard or certified mail.

Also, the IRS will never require you to make a payment through a certain payment method, like a prepaid credit card. Nor will they threaten to notify local authorities if you fail to pay.

If you receive a bogus phone call, please let them know you’re aware it is a scam. This should get them to remove the phone number from their list, since they know it’s a waste of time. If you receive a phishing email, send it to phishing@irs.gov and then promptly delete it.

If you’d like confirmation regarding your tax refund or clarification regarding any past-due taxes, you may reach a legitimate IRS staffer at (800) 829-1040. Or, if you are certain you don’t owe taxes and don’t have any tax problems, report the phone call scam to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at (800) 366-4484.

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17 thoughts on “The Two Biggest Tax Scams You Must be Aware Of

  1. Got one of these calls a couple years ago. They threatened to show up at my door with the police if I didn’t pay immediately. I told them fine, call the police & come to my door. I’d love them to have to produce legitimate IDs to the police. They never showed or called again.

  2. I still get a laugh from the Microsoft scam! I had them thinking they had one big sale until they realised I was using Linux. I learned new cuss words that day! This time I think I’ll try to get a recording.

  3. I WANT TO KNOW WHY YOU FOLKS OUT THERE EVEN ANSWER THESE CALLS. A PHONE NUMBER YOU DO NOT RECOGNIZE, LET IT GO TO YOUR ANSWERING MACHINE. EVEN IF A NAME SHOWS UP, WHETHER I.R.S. OR NOT, LET IT GO TO THE ANSWERING MACHINE. IF LEGITIMATE, YOU CAN ALWAYS CALL BACK. IF BOGUS, BLOCK IT. THIS IS NOT AN AD BUT I BOUGHT A “BLOCKY” ON EBAY THAT BLOCKS UNWANTED CALLS. IT CAN BLOCK 1,500 CALLS. THAT’S WHY I BOUGHT IT. YOU CAN EVEN BLOCK A CALL IN MID RING IF YOU KNOW IT IS A SCAMMER. I GET DOZENS AND DOZENS OF SCAMMER CALLS EVERY MONTH AND I BLOCK THEM ALL. SO SHOULD YOU.

  4. I don’t get too many calls from scammers anymore. A few years ago, I purchased a high quality coach’s whistle. When a scammer called, I told them to listen very carefully. Then I took a big breath and blew the whistle as long as I could, hoping these creeps would have on a headset and they’d get the message loud and clear. Of course, they hang up.
    Hopefully, their ear rang long enough to keep them off the phone for a few minutes and keep fewer people from getting calls. I’ve even called back the number the “IRS” left on a voicemail, and when he answered the phone, I talked for only a second to make sure he was listening carefully. This is the only effective way of “blowing the whistle”, so to speak, on these scums. Seems they can’t be found and stopped. Haven’t heard from the IRS or Publisher’s Clearing House in a while. I guess they really do take your number off the list if it’s a waste of time, or painful. I suggest getting a good whistle!

  5. I’ve had two of these calls in the past three weeks. I just finished an audit with the IRS. They sent me a nice letter thanking me for the needed explanation of my income and informing me there will be no additional taxes required.
    I told both calls that they should try to get a real job.

  6. First call a couple of years ago the female spoke with very heavy Asian accent and left message on my voicemail. I returned the call and spoke with a male who also had the accent. He insisted I owed some amount of money and that he had federal law enforcement agents in my area who would come and arrest me in a matter of minutes. I told him to send them and hung up. Several months later I got another call, from a male. He went through the same routine. I listened patiently and when he finally paused for my response I went into a profanity-laced tirade telling him that the last time I stayed home all afternoon waiting for his agents and they didn’t show up so if he wanted to arrest me he better send his agents quickly because I was about to leave. He suggested that I have an incestuous relationship with myself an hung up. Have not been bothered since.

  7. The caller asked if they were talking to [insert first and last name here] and I said yes. They wanted to talk to me about my outstanding tax debt. I told her she had the wrong [first and last name] as I had no outstanding tax debt, then I hung up. Joke was on them!!!!!

  8. I have actually received probably 4 calls in the last month from fake Irs.. they leave a number where I am supposed to call and pay a fine , or I will be arrested within 3 to 4 hours it changes from day to day.

  9. Received an E-Mail saying I had not paid My 2017 Income tax and that I owed $697.00 in back taxes! I am an 82yr. old 80% disabled Vietnam Veteran! I have been tax since I Retired from the Military in 1997 and started My Social Security in 1999! I file a w-4 every yr. with the Dept. of Defense and just recently the IRS is taking around $167.00 out of My Income! I have only $1,600.00 of Taxable Income! Why is the IRS taking tax out on My Income! Just Asking? Jesus Blesses!

  10. For the past week, I’ve been getting recorded phone messages from different toll-free numbers claiming there was something wrong with my social security number. It has been suspended due to suspicious activity. If I want to know more, press 1.

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