During the tax-filing season, identity thieves and con artists surface, cashing in on the many taxpayers who either fear committing mistakes on their returns. Many people end up sharing their tax details, including bank account and Social Security numbers, to strangers who tend to appear too considerate and willing to help with their tax woes.
Divulging personal tax and financial related information to anyone is very risky and amounts to excessive trouble. Be reminded that the IRS or tax preparers are not required to ask for comprehensive personal and financial details like your PINS, credit card access information, or passwords to bank account details. Anyone who tries to extract such information is definitely after more than merely preparing the taxes for you.
Most of these crooks initiate contact with unsuspecting taxpayers by email or phone. The IRS doesn’t call or email taxpayers to poke around for information. If you receive an email from anyone claiming to be the IRS or claims to direct you to an IRS site, don’t waste your time replying to such an email. If the email comes with attachments, don’t open them, as they might contain malicious viruses or spyware with the potential to infect and harm your computer. Furthermore, desist from clicking on any links in a doubtful email. For more information, search for “identity theft” on the IRS website.
Some con artists have fake “IRS” websites that they use as their core tools of trade by confusing taxpayers. Be informed that the IRS website has always been www.irs.gov, and has never been changed. Any site that claims to be IRS but ending in .com, .org, .net among others other than .gov is fake, and should be avoided. Don’t divulge any personal information to such sites but rather, report them to the IRS.
The best way to end IRS scammers is staying in touch with the taxman to avoid being swindled. In case you receive suspicious phone calls, emails, letters, or faxes from anyone claiming to work with the IRS but you doubt if the individual works for the IRS at all, call the IRS at (800) 829-1040 to find out whether there is any genuine reason why the taxman might want to contact you. Phony emails should be forwarded to firstname.lastname@example.org. Furthermore, there is sufficient information on the IRS website under “phishing” on how some scams should be reported and cases of victimization.
The IRS is always on the lookout for any tax scams and has various investigators tracking down these crooks. The best way to help and enable them stop these bandits is by reporting any suspicious cases you encounter. Don’t let crooks control (or ruin) your life and finances.