If you’re reading this you’re currently being tracked by a team of local authorities who will soon have you and your family arrested for failing to remit payment to the IRS. No running now…
Sounds ridiculous, right? Believe it or not, these absurd and aggressive scare tactics are what most scammers use when imitating the IRS. The sad, yet almost comical, fact is: it works.
How do IRS scammers bring in the bucks?
The most common techniques involve demanding immediate payment from a person over the phone. They may ask for personal information such as credit card or even social security numbers. Some scams are also conducted through email, text or even social media. The question rises, why would people give into these tricks so readily?
If an IRS scammer were likened to a burglar, it’s almost as though thee house owner’s are literally flinging their doors open, inviting the burglar to go for a nice peruse through their valuables, all while throwing on a pot of tea for that extra touch of hospitality. There are two key factors that enable a scammer to be successful. They include fear and inexperience.
Combatting Slimy IRS Scammers
Fortunately for everyone (minus the sneaky tricksters, of course) knowledge eliminates both those elements commonly played on. By knowing some red flags to look out for, a person can easily identify a scammer and defeat any fear those suckers try to evoke.
Received a phone call before a mailed letter?
Red Flag. The IRS is known for always sending a proper letter in the mail before contacting a person by phone. If all of a sudden you are on the phone with a person from the IRS who is threatening to sue you for all you’re worth, you are definitely being scammed. One tactic is to ask their target to pay in the method of a gift card such as Amazon or iTunes.
Asks for personal information over phone?
Red Flag. The IRS does not ask for credit or debit numbers over the phone. Some are convinced a scammer is from the IRS because they know a lot of your personal information such as birth date and home address. Some people use this as an indicator that they are legitimate and decide to provide more personal information over the phone.
Threatens or uses aggressive tone?
Red Flag. The IRS has strict processes used to ensure professionalism. A first-time call (remember, the IRS communicates by written letter first) that results in aggressive, bold demands and/or threats is most likely a scam.
Have you been targeted by an IRS scammer yet?
If you suspect you are being scammed, abort mission. Hang up the phone, delete that email, etc. If you remain on the phone or begin clicking links online, the chances of people getting a hold of your personal information becomes higher. While that does sound scary, there is no need to be completely paranoid that you’re getting scammed at every corner. The best thing a person can do is simply keep up to date on the procedures the IRS uses so that fishy scams that seem out of place are effortless to spot. Simple as that.