If you’re rushing to complete your income taxes this weekend, watch out for scammers taking advantage of a stressful time.
The Internal Revenue Service issued a warning that scammers may try using the April 18 deadline by impersonating the IRS and others with fake phone calls and emails.
“We’ve seen continuing activity in these scams throughout the filing season,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “As the tax deadline nears, these criminals may try and trick honest taxpayers over the phone or via email, and people should remain vigilant.
“After the tax deadline, watch out for these scammers promising a refund or threatening you with an unexpected tax bill,” he added.
Scam artists frequently masquerade as being from the IRS, a tax company and sometimes even a state revenue department.
By phone, many scammers use threats to intimidate and bully people into paying a tax bill. They may even threaten to arrest, deport or revoke the driver’s license of their victim if they don’t get the money. The best thing to do is hang up.
By email, they try enticing people to click on links in official-looking messages containing questions related to their tax refund. You can report these emails to email@example.com.
Some examples of the varied tactics seen this year are:
- Soliciting W-2 information from payroll and human resources professionals
- “Verifying” tax return information over the phone
- Pretending to be from the tax preparation industry
- Using IRS titles and fake badge numbers to appear legitimate
The IRS said it will never call about taxes owed without first having mailed a bill, never make threats, and never ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS and asking for money and you don’t owe taxes, hang up immediately and call the IRS at 800-366-4484 to report the incident.
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