Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr says consumers need to keep their guard up because tax-related scams are likely going to increase as tax season gets underway.
His office reminds people that no one from the IRS is going to call you and ask you for tax money over the telephone. An IRS agent won’t email you either. Tax scams are like any scam, i.e. the idea is to get your money quickly and in a form that can’t be traced like money cards or wire transfers.
Here is more from Carr’s office on the “IRS Impersonation Scam”
In this type of scam, a fraudster contacts consumers by phone, claiming to be an IRS agent and insisting that the consumer owes the IRS money. The caller asks the consumer to pay by wiring money or loading money onto a pre-paid debit card and often threatens arrest or legal action if the consumer does not comply. Consumers can easily be convinced that these calls are real as the scammer may know a consumer’s full or partial Social Security number (SSN) or even use spoofing software that causes the IRS name and/or number to show up in your caller ID.
Here is what you need to know to avoid this scam:
The IRS will never call a consumer about unpaid taxes or penalties – the agency typically contacts consumers by letter via the U.S. Mail.
They won’t leave a message threatening to sue you, arrest you or deport you if you don’t pay right away.
The IRS won’t demand a specific form of payment, such as an iTunes gift card, Green Dot Money Pak or wire transfer.
If you get a call purporting to be from the IRS, never send money. Instead, hang up and either a) report the scam to the FTC and to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at tigta.gov or by calling 1-800-366-4484; or b) If you know you owe taxes or you think you might owe taxes, call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040. The IRS employees at that line can help you with a payment issue – if there really is such an issue.
If you get an email that claims to be from the IRS, do not reply or click on any links. Instead, forward it to the IRS.
Carr’s office also says more people may not have to be aware of “Tax Identity Theft” as well. That’s when someone steals your social security number and figures out to file a tax return in your name to try and get your refund.
This scam, unfortunately, is not something people know about until they file their return and are then told that their return was “already received.” The advice here is to file as early as possible each tax season which will give a crook less of a chance to file a fraudulent return.
Carr’s office says that Georgia consumers can get a special PIN number which provides more security when filing electronically.
If you are the victim of tax identity theft, contact the IRS at 1-800-908-4490. You should also file a complaint with the FTC or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP.