Be on the lookout for these new tax-related scams
Posted on July 23, 2019
The CPAs of Teipen Selanders Poynter & Ayres are warning taxpayers about a surge of evolving phishing emails and phone scams.
Here are two scams trending right now, according to IRS sources:
SSN suspension scheme
Scammers call, threatening to suspend or cancel your Social Security number. They often say they represent the IRS, and will say you are delinquent in your federal or state taxes.
Fake tax agency
This scheme begins with a letter from the “Bureau of Tax Enforcement,” a non-entity, threatening an IRS lien or levy
based on bogus overdue taxes. The lien notification references the IRS to confuse potential victims into thinking the letter is from a legitimate agency.
Both these schemes show classic signs of being scams. Here are some tips to keep you safe from these and other tax-related scams:
- The IRS does not leave pre-recorded, urgent or threatening messages.
- The IRS will never leave a message threatening that if you do not call back, a warrant will be issued for your arrest, deportation or revocation of licenses.
- Be aware that criminals can now “spoof” caller ID numbers to appear to be anywhere in the country — an IRS office phone number, or the number of your state, federal or other government agency.
If you receive a threatening or scam phone call, here’s what to do:
- Hang up immediately.
- Contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration to report the call.
- Report the caller ID and callback number to the IRS by sending it to email@example.com.
- Report the call to the Federal Trade Commission.
Email phishing scams
- The IRS will not initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information.
- The IRS initiates most contacts through regular mail delivered by the postal service.
- If you receive an unsolicited email that appears to be a scam, forward the email message to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Never open any attachments, click on any links, reply to the sender, or take any other actions that could put you at risk.
Telltale signs of a scam
TSPA CPAs want you to know that the IRS and its authorized private collection agencies will never:
- Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. The IRS does not use these methods for tax payments.
- Ask for checks to third parties. The IRS has specific instructions on how to pay taxes. All tax payments should only be made payable to 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 that taxes be paid without giving the taxpayer the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed.
If you wish to talk to a member of our CPA team about an email, phone call or letter you have received but are not sure about, feel free to give us a call. We can help you walk through the process of determining what is going on, and help you make the right choices to protect your security.