It’s that time of year again! Besides being a tiny hell for approximately 300 million people, the U.S. tax season is a prime period for scammers to crawl out of the woodwork. And while the IRS does its best to inform taxpayers of potential scams, let’s be honest: they don’t exactly have the best social media team over there. So let’s Buzzfeed this IRS scam PSA up!
1. The IRS will never call you to demand immediate payment
Here’s a typical scammer phone call: "Hi, this is Agent Carter with the IRS. You owe us $4,000. We need you to pay within twenty-four hours or you’ll be arrested." And then you feel like the world is crashing down around you.
Here’s the thing: the IRS will NEVER call you to demand immediate payment. In fact, they won’t even call you if you owe taxes without first sending you a bill in the mail.
Plus, the IRS allows everyone who owes money to ask questions and appeal the amount they owe.
2. The IRS will never demand that you pay your taxes in a particular way
Lots of scammers ask you to fill up a pre-paid debit card with money, then give them the info so they grab the cash. That makes it a lot harder for you to get your money back, and it’s something the IRS would never do.
3. Don't give out personal info over the phone
Unless you know you’re speaking to an IRS agent (as in, YOU called the IRS, not the other way around), don’t give out personal information over the phone. This includes your name, address, and credit card numbers.
4. If you get a call from a scammer, hang up immediately and report it
You can report scam calls with TIGTA by calling 1-800-366-4484 or on their website.
5. When in doubt, call the IRS
Believe it or not, the IRS actually wants to help you. You can give them a call at 1-800-829-1040 if you think you owe taxes or you have a question.
6. This scam can happen to anyone
Think you’re safe because you pay your taxes on time, or because you think your information has never been leaked? It doesn’t matter – scammers will use any amount of information they have, even just the information available in a phone book, in an attempt to scam you out of your money. Since 2013, there have been nearly 5,000 victims who have collectively paid over $23 million to scammers.