26 Feb IRS Warns of Tax Scams
Every year when tax season rolls around and it’s time for all of us to start thinking about our 1040s, the tax specialists at Tampa’s Walter S. Sanders & Associates start hearing stories of tax scams.
“Now with tax season upon us, individuals and groups will once again attempt to defraud taxpayers and the US government out of millions of dollars, using techniques and technologies that range from the old school to the cutting edge. This year is no different, and the IRS has been feverishly issuing warnings about how to spot the red flags and strategies for staying out of scammers’ crosshairs,” CNET says.
Here are two of the tax scams to watch out for in 2020 from CNET:
1 – The IRS impersonation phone call
This one isn’t new, but it still manages to get honest taxpayers to fall for it. It involves someone calling and claiming to represent the IRS to demand that you pay your taxes immediately. “Calling from a phone number that appears to belong to the IRS on your caller ID, they will threaten, badger and intimidate you into making a rash decision. Usually they will often ask for a transfer of funds by gift card or wire transfer. Thieves are increasingly extending this scheme to email and social media channels,” CNET warns.
Don’t fall for it! The IRS will never phone you or show up at your house to demand an immediate payment — especially via gift card or wire transfer.
2 – Fake texts, emails, or social media messages
“Thieves have had years to refine their email trickery and have recently expanded into text messages and social media messages,” CNET says. These are phishing scams that use e-mail messages to trick you into revealing personal and financial information that can be used to steal your identity. “One particularly bold gambit involves scammers using the IRS name and logo to warn taxpayers about the very scam they’re perpetrating, before soliciting sensitive personal information. Note that attackers are increasingly targeting tax professionals in addition to taxpayers.”
Don’t fall for it! “The real IRS will never initiate contact to request personal or financial information,” CNET says. “If you do receive such a message, the IRS asks that you forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Do not reply to the original message.”
We all know it can be hard to get through to the IRS. Brian Sanders, a certified Tampa CPA, and the Tampa accountants at Walter S. Sanders & Associates are available if you have questions about your 1040 tax return or have received a questionable communication purporting to be from the IRS.