The IRS is warning taxpayers to beware of a variety of scams relating to tax collection, especially during the summer months.
Taxpayers often receive legitimate correspondence from the IRS at this time with questions about the information that was filed before the deadline in April. But with fraudsters looking to take advantage, it’s important to be able to identify what’s real and what’s fake.
The IRS generally only communicates through U.S. mail, while phone calls and emails purporting to be IRS warnings about unpaid taxes are actually fraudulent and should be ignored and deleted. Clicking a link from a fake email could give thieves access to your information, and phone calls or voicemails demanding that money be wired immediately are just a phony shakedown. Instructions to use a prepaid debit card or to do a wire transfer are a red flag and are not IRS practice.
The IRS warns to be vigilant about letters received in the mail as well, such as warnings received from the “Bureau of Tax Enforcement,” a nonexistent government agency. Any communication instructing that a check be made out to anything but the “U.S. treasury” is not legitimate.
Some scammers may go as far to make a visit in person. This is not standard IRS practice, certainly not without a number of previous warnings. And real IRS employees must provide two forms of ID to prove that they’re government employees. If a tax debt is transferred to a collection agency, it will be preceded by a notification from the IRS.
The IRS encourages taxpayers to visit their website (irs.gov) and search for “scam” to learn more about how to protect oneself from common tax scams.