Topping the IRS list of “Dirty Dozen” tax scams this year are fraudulent calls from phone scammers posing as IRS agents. With the tax season in full swing, phone scams have been surging, with the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), which oversees the IRS, reporting 290,000 scam calls since October 2013 and nearly 3,000 victims being swindled out of $14 million so far.
Phone scammers often use some of the following techniques to threaten vulnerable targets, such as the elderly and new immigrants:
- Leaving messages saying that it’s “urgent” you call them back.
- Claiming to know the last four digits of your Social Security number.
- Sending follow-up e-mails that appear to be from the IRS.
- Demanding payment via a prepaid debit card.
- Claiming you are owed a refund, and asking for personal information from you, in order to claim it.
The real IRS will typically contact you by regular mail first, if they need to contact you at all. Additionally, the agency never demands immediate payment by phone or asks for credit card or debit card numbers if they were to call you. The IRS will not initiate contact with you by phone, email, text or social media to ask for your personal or financial information.
If you receive what you believe to be a scam call, report it to TIGTA through its website or call (800) 366-4484.
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