The phone rings. You see a number that you don’t recognize, but pick up the call anyway. An agent claiming to be from the IRS says that you owe back taxes and threatens to arrest you or file a law suit against you if you don’t make an immediate payment over the phone. Thousands of Americans faced this exact situation in 2016. This is a prime example of an IRS scam.
This scam is responsible for collecting nearly $150,000 a day
from tax payers.Thieves were from Mumbai, India, where police helped to shut down these call centers. Other scams involve emails where you are promised a large refund after you prepay the tax on the refund simply to have the agent and your money disappear. So how can you protect yourself?
There are a few guidelines that you can follow to help prevent you from becoming victim to the ever-increasing amount of scams thieves are using to steal your identity and money.
Remember that the government will never demand an immediate payment over the phone or by email. There will always be a paper trail with the IRS and they are never threatening. If you do receive one of these phone calls or emails don’t panic, take a breath and remember that the IRS does not operate in that manner, that it is a scam. If you feel the need to verify that it wasn’t the IRS call the help desk and allow them to verify that you are doing everything correctly! Be vigilant. Protect your identity and your money.