IRS scams can be devastating to your business. Con artists can drain your bank account, steal your identity or worse. Thankfully, these pesky tax scams are also avoidable, if you learn the warning signs and remain vigilant.
5 Types of IRS Scams
1) Phone Scams
During tax season, you should be wary of unsolicited phone calls. Scammers frequently phone unsuspecting business owners to demand they pay a bogus tax bill. They also sometimes use robo calls that leave messages stressing the urgency of a return call.
In this type of con, they urge you to send cash through a wire transfer, prepaid debit card or other direct method of payment.
Small businesses should always be on the lookout for phishing emails.
If you receive an email that urges you to update your IRS file immediately, this is likely a scam. This type of email usually contains a link that directs you to a website where you are prompted to enter your personal and financial information.
Although the website may appear to be official, that’s all part of the con.
3) Identity Theft
Identity theft is one of the most common and dangerous types of all IRS scams. It may start with a letter, phone call or other type of direct communication.
In this con, scammers collect your personal information to drain your bank account, run up charges on your credit card or even set up new financial accounts in your name.
4) Texting Scams
Today, IRS scams are not limited to email, letters and phone calls.
Even if the messages appear to be official, you need to be wary of clicking on links in unsolicited text messages. These texts often contain links to websites that ask for you to enter personal information.
5) Taxpayer Advocate Emails
In another type of IRS scam, you may receive an email from someone claiming to represent the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel (TAP).
You can easily spot this con if you can remember TAP could not and would not ask for your personal and financial information under any situation.
How to Know you are Dealing with Scammers
Even though an email, call or text you receive may seem like the real thing, you can spot IRS scams if you know the agency’s policies for contacting taxpayers.
The IRS will never:
- Call you to demand immediate payment
- Call without first mailing you a bill
- Require a specific type of payment
- Ask for your credit card or debit card number over the phone
- Threaten you with arrest for back payment
What you can do to Protect Yourself
First of all, exercise extreme caution with all unsolicited communication. Second, if you think you may be the victim of an IRS scam, you can report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1-800-366-4844 or at www.tigta.gov.