Creative con artists have a variety of tax scams they utilize this time of year. If you get a request via a phone call or an email that asks for personal information that is supposedly from the IRS you should be on the alert.
Telephone scams. We’re seeing an increased rate of telephone scams recently in which the tax payer receives a phone call with a warning that the IRS is about to start collection procedures on taxes owed, stating that the recipient MUST call a number to provide credit card information or cash to avoid fines or even jail time. Unless you have been through a formal assessment with the IRS, an IRS would not call you by telephone. Initial communication from the IRS is done via the mail, not email or by telephone.
Email scams. This is a variation on the phone scam that arrives via an email. An official looking email arrives from an official looking email address (a recent version used the word treasury in the email address) and threatens the recipient with immediate levy unless he or she clicks on a link and provides personal information. Unless you have been in communication with the IRS previously it is very unlikely you would receive an email from them, and even more unlikely you would be asked to provide personal or financial information via an unexpected email. If you are not sure about any email supposedly sent from the IRS, please reach out to your tax preparer.
The best rule is to never provide personal information such as your social security number or credit card numbers to an unknown person or organization.
As we have mentioned previously, tax identity theft is a major problem in which scammers file a tax return in your name. Undoing the after effects of having your tax identity stolen can be a lengthy process. For more information about tax identity theft please read our previous blog on this topic.
If you have any questions, please contact a member of Frazier & Deeter’s tax team.
About the blogger
Terri Lawson is the Co-Chair of Frazier & Deeter’s Tax Department. She specializes in estate taxation and planning, fiduciary, gift and individual income tax. She is also a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst specializing in divorce planning, cash flow analysis, settlement structuring and evaluation of divorce settlements.