Its tax season, and the scammers are at it again. Beat them at their game by knowing what to look out for. If you hear or see any of the following this tax season, you’re dealing with a scammer:
- “We’re calling from the IRS to inform you that your identity has been stolen and you need to buy gift cards to fix it.” If your identity has indeed been stolen, no amount of purchased gift cards will get it back.
- “You owe tax money. We’ll arrest you, unless you buy iTunes gift cards.” In this ruse, the scammer also will ask for the access numbers to the iTunes card to get easy and untraceable access to cash.
- “If you don’t pay your tax bill now, we’ll cancel your Social Security number.” Your Social Security number cannot be canceled, suspended, frozen, or blocked.
- “We’re calling you about an outstanding tax bill.” The IRS will never initiate contact about an overdue tax bill by phone.
- “This is the Bureau of Tax Enforcement. We’re putting a lien or levy on your assets.” Sounds scary, except for the fact that the Bureau of Tax Enforcement isn’t real.
- “This is a pre-recorded message from the IRS. If you don’t call us back, you’ll be arrested.” The IRS does not leave pre-recorded voicemails to individual taxpayers.
- “You must make an immediate payment over the phone, using our chosen method.” IRS agents will never call to demand immediate payment using a specific method.
- “Click here for more details about your tax refund.” The IRS will never send emails with information about tax refunds. Clicking on the link in emails worded like this will likely put malware on the victim’s device.
- “You owe the federal student tax.” The federal student tax is yet another invention of tireless scammers.
Stay alert during tax season and keep your money and information safe. If you are approached by a scammer on the internet, by telephone, or in-person contact local law enforcement through their non-emergency line.