As we inch closer towards April 15th, the number of phone calls pretending to be IRS will become more frequent. These scams take advantage of the public’s fear of IRS, making it sound like the victim will go to prison if they don’t agree to pay up.
Even worse, these scams are getting more sophisticated every year. They are now able to change their Caller ID so it looks like they are calling from a number in Washington D.C. In some cases, they even have fake managers to transfer your call to, in case you ask to complain.
Protect yourself against scam calls by learning the signs of a scam. According to IRS.gov:
- IRS always sends a paper bill before the service center calls.
- IRS never demands immediate payment over the phone using a specific method like a wire transfer.
- IRS will never demand payment by prepaid debit or gift cards.
- IRS will never threaten to bring in local police, immigration services or the FBI for non-payment.
- IRS will never demand payment immediately without answering your questions.
- IRS will never demand payment without providing you the right to appeal.
- IRS will never require payment through a website other than irs.gov.
- IRS will never call you about unexpected refunds that you need to claim.
Most scammers prey upon the fear and will attempt to rush you into giving them money or personal information. They will try to make you feel like if you don’t do something right now, there will be huge, immediate consequences.
If you think you are dealing with a scammer, just tell them that you are going to hang up and confirm that the liability is real with the actual IRS helpline. A real IRS employee would be fine with that, while a scammer will panic and try to keep you on the phone. Hang up, then call IRS directly at 1-800-829-1040 and confirm the balance due is real with them.
Clergy Financial Resources serves as a resource for clients to help analyze the complexity of clergy tax law, church payroll & HR issues. Our professionals are committed to helping clients stay informed about tax news, developments and trends in various specialty areas.
This article is intended to provide readers with guidance in tax matters. The article does not constitute, and should not be treated as professional advice regarding the use of any particular tax technique. Every effort has been made to assure the accuracy of the information. Clergy Financial Resources and the author do not assume responsibility for any individual’s reliance upon the information provided in the article. Readers should independently verify all information before applying it to a particular fact situation, and should independently determine the impact of any particular tax planning technique. If you are seeking legal advice, you are encouraged to consult an attorney.
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