It's that time of the year again, have you filed your taxes yet? Tax scams are running rampant again. It's time to spread the word to family and friends on how to be a critical consumer this season. Our IT expert, Jeff Groby, visited the studio at The Big 550 KTRS for Tech Talk last week to share the inside scoop on how to be cautious when it comes to tax season robocalls and phishing emails. It's important to note that the IRS will never contact you via email or phone. Contact by the IRS is always made through the United States Postal Service.
IRS Tax Season Phone and Email Scams
Have you or a loved one received a call or voicemail that sounds like a robot is on the other end and tells you that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is sending the sheriff out to arrest you? Whether you've gotten that exact message or some variation, hopefully, you know better than to believe the caller. The majority of the IRS scam calls have some tax return element, mixed with adding the fear of getting in trouble with authorities, and a number to call back.
If you're a pretty savvy critical consumer, you can tell based off of the sound of the call that the IRS isn't trying to get in touch with you. Often, the voice will sound robotic and will even use improper English; both should be immediate red flags. Jeff mentioned that many of the people generating these calls do not speak English as a first language; that's why the wording can sound incorrect and should tip consumers off.
In addition to calling consumers, scammers will also send phishing emails trying to imitate the IRS. Sadly, tax season scams have grown into a multi-billion dollar revenue stream for criminals. Consumers don't only have to worry about the phone calls. Criminals are also invading email inboxes trying to cash in on unsuspecting victims.
Avoiding a IRS Tax Scam
If you think the IRS is trying to get in touch with you, contact them directly. Visiting their website and using the contact information listed is the best way to find out a definite answer on whether or not they would like to get in touch with you. Below are a few tips and reminders that the IRS would like for consumers to remember:
- The IRS will not call or email you and demand immediate payment.
- Demand that you pay taxes and not allow you to question or appeal the amount.
- Require that you pay your taxes in a certain way — for example, gift cards and prepaid debit cards.
- Ask for your personal information over the phone.
- Threaten that the local authorities are going to arrest you for not paying.
Keeping these reminders tucked in your back pocket is a great way to be a critical consumer this tax season. Share these reminders with friends and family to help one of your loved ones from falling victim to scammers.
Tech Talk Presented by SumnerOne
Don't forget to listen to The Big 550 KTRS Friday afternoons at 4:20 to catch Tech Talk presented by SumnerOne. Our IT Experts keep up with Guy Phillips and his crew during your commute home before the weekend by talking about the latest information in technology and adding in some laughs. If you would like to learn more about how SumnerOne handles technology during office hours, give us a call!