As tax season draws to a close, anxiety runs rampant as people shuffle to get forms in on time and correctly.
Consequently, this leaves people more susceptible to scams run by con artists and thieves, who obviously lack any sense of morality. These scams seem somewhat plausible under normal conditions. However, when they are added to the stress of filing taxes, the same scams become very real.
Once you know what to look for, it becomes a simple matter of identifying a scam. It is important to first take a second to calm any anxiety induced by an unknown party contacting you about finances and taxes. Take a breath, sit down and attempt to remain calm before looking for the common signs of a scam.
The IRS has an entire page dedicated to identifying common scamming practices, and to specifically tell the public what it will never do if investigating tax issues. The biggest item on the list is the IRS will never call people before sending a notice and bill in the mail.
Another big tell is the IRS will not employ scare tactics to add anxiety to the situation. Scammers use scare tactics such as threatening to bring in the FBI to raid your home in an attempt to induce panic and irrationality. This is remedied by simply calming down and realizing no one would call to inform of a raid in 30 minutes.
Lastly, the IRS will never ask for a payment over the phone with no way to appeal the amount, or to be paid by a specific form of payment. Payments owed due to a taxing issue is a professional process done in person. A random caller claiming to be the IRS and asking payment through PayPal is not something the real agency would do—that’s just shady.
No one denies how scary the IRS is, but as a government institution, it does operate professionally. If it falls anywhere short, red flags should go up and ending the call is the best move to make.
Texas State has been marred over recent years with IRS scammers trying to take advantage of vulnerable students. Remember, just like a break up, only children do important business over the phone.