By Brian Ravencraft
It is always important to be on guard when it comes to possible scams. However, this time of year you should have that guard up just a bit higher since scammers posing as the IRS are busier than ever. Scammers are becoming increasingly crafty in their ways it seems. Here are a few examples of scams to be on the look out for according to the IRS.
Signs of a scam
If you receive a call from someone claiming that they can suspend or cancel your SSN or they request funds from you in any form, you are almost certainly dealing with a scammer. The scammer is trying to scare people into returning voicemails and calls. Here are some things to keep in mind that the IRS will never do according to their website:
- Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a gift card or wire transfer.
- Ask a taxpayer to make a payment to a person or organization other than the U.S. Treasury
- Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have the taxpayer arrested for not paying
- Demand taxes be paid without giving the taxpayer the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed.
Most common scams
- Phone scams — these are still quite common. If you get a voicemail from someone saying that if you do not call back and give the information, they are requesting they will take legal action, this is a scam. In some of the calls they claim a warrant will be issues for your arrest. The IRS states on their website that they will not leave pre-recorded messages.
- Email phishing scams —The IRS will contact taxpayers through U.S. mail so if you receive an email that appears to be from the IRS it is more than likely a phishing scam trying to get you release your sensitive information. If you believe to have received a phishing email you can always report it to the IRS using this email. firstname.lastname@example.org
The main thing to remember here is that if the IRS needs to communicate with you or bill you in any way, they will do so through U.S. Mail. Overall, always trust your instincts and be cautious when someone is asking for your information. If you have any questions regarding scams, feel free to reach out to me. I am always here to help.
Brian E. Ravencraft, CPA, CGMA is a Principal with Holbrook & Manter, CPAs. Brian has been with Holbrook & Manter since 1995, primarily focusing on the areas of Tax Consulting and Management Advisory Services within several firm service areas, focusing on agri-business and closely held businesses and their owners. Holbrook & Manter is a professional services firm founded in 1919 and we are unique in that we offer the resources of a large firm without compromising the focused and responsive personal attention that each client deserves. You can reach Brian through www.agribusinessaccounting.com or www.HolbrookManter.com.