by: Steven Aldrich ~ First Coast Computer Services
From IRS Tax Scams Consumer Alert webpage:
Thousands of people have lost millions of dollars and their personal information to tax scams. Scammers use the regular mail, telephone, or email to set up individuals, businesses, payroll and tax professionals.
The IRS doesn’t initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or social media channels to request personal or financial information. Recognize the telltale signs of a scam.
The two paragraphs above are at the top of the IRS webpage listing of the tax scams they have seen this season. The webpage is located here: www.irs.gov/newsroom/tax-scams-consumer-alerts
Some of the scams listed are:
IRS-Impersonation Telephone Scams
This includes requesting immediate payment via credit and gift cards. The IRS never calls to demand immediate payment over the phone. Many of the scams utilize VRS to target the deaf and hard of hearing. This is a big portion of our population in St Augustine, the home of FSDB.
Scams Targeting Tax Professionals
Tax Professionals are being targeted with increased sophistication and the list of scams which target them is growing at an alarming rate.
Soliciting Form W-2 Information from payroll and human resources professionals
Employers are urged to put into place protocols for sharing sensitive employee information. There are several new variations that focus on large scale theft of tax information from tax preparers, businesses and payroll companies.
Surge in Email, Phishing and malware schemes
The IRS has issued several alerts about the fraudulent use of the IRS name or logo. Just because something looks official does not mean it is. The IRS generally does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information.
Here is a list of things that the IRS will never do:
- Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. Generally, the IRS will first mail you a bill if you owe any taxes.
- Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
- Demand payment without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
- Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
- Request payment via gift cards.
Don’t fall for scams via the phone, email or fax. If you receive anything that seems suspicious, or makes demands like those listed above, contact the IRS directly via the phone numbers found on www.irs.gov. Do not use the numbers or links found in the communication.
Steven Aldrich is a technology advisor with decades of experience as an IT Director and is the owner of First Coast Computer Services. Contact Steven if you need a trusted advisor to come to your business or home and help with your technology. Steve@fccspro.com or (904) 479-5661.