Friends, Tax Day is almost here and that means the scammers are working hard. Here are a few tips to help you stay one step ahead of the scammers and to make sure you’re not taken advantage of.
Watch for Telephone Tax Scams:
- Don’t rely on the caller ID. Scammers can manipulate caller ID to make it seem like their calling from the IRS, a police department or other official agency.
- Don’t “verify” personal information over the phone. Scammers may seem to know your personal information and may ask you to verify it. Don’t confirm anything and don’t give them any additional information.
- Don’t fall for threats. The IRS will not send law enforcement to your house and any threats to arrest, deport or suspend your license are fake.
- Do not make payment through retail gift cards, bitcoin or wire transfers. Many scammers attempt to convince victims they can pay with gift cards from government approved retailers. This is an attempt to get you to send money that you can never recoup.
- Do not give credit or debit card numbers over the phone. Scammers may ask you for this information over the phone but the IRS will not.
KEEP THIS IN MIND: The IRS will generally send you a letter by mail first if you have a tax bill. If they do contact you by phone, they will not leave threatening/aggressive voicemails.
Watch for Email Tax Scams:
- Don’t open suspicious emails. Err on the side of caution and do not open emails with “tax refund,” “tax bill,” or something similar in the subject line. These could be phishing emails. If you do happen to open the email, DO NOT CLICK ON ANY LINKS.
- Don’t rely on the email “from” address. Scammers can fake email address and website addresses and can also easily create fake websites.
- Don’t call contact numbers listed in the email. If you have a question about your return, visit the official IRS website on your own or call the official number.
KEEP THIS IN MIND: The IRS generally does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information.
You can dig deeper into this on the IRS’ Tax Scams/Consumer Alerts page. Please share this email with your loved ones–especially the elderly and more vulnerable, as they are often targets of these scammers. I created a graphic on The Mama Zone’s Facebook page to make it easier to share. You can find that here. Stay safe!
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Anitra is the founder of The Mama Zone and she’s been sharing useful tips for mom here since 2009.