Thinking and Meaning

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How To Protect Yourself From The IRS Phone Scam

One of the most common types of phone scams that affect millions of Americans each year is the IRS phone scam. You might not think that you could ever be tricked by this scam, but you could! Find out how to identify and report this scam, as well as cut down on the amount of calls you receive with a caller ID app.

What Is The IRS Phone Scam?

There are many variations of this scam, but the most common variation is as follows. You receive a call or an automated message from someone claiming to be an IRS agent. The caller or message will say that it’s very important that you contact with them immediately in order to resolve an issue with back taxes.

They will threaten you with legal problems saying that you will be brought to court, or in some cases even arrested. The scammer will demand that you pay the taxes that they claim you owe immediately.

Why Is It Successful?

It’s no secret that taxes are complicated! Scammers know this and they take advantage of it. It’s also no secret that many Americans pay their taxes late or don’t even pay them at all. This scam also frequently targets immigrants and threatens to deport them because they owe taxes.

Many people fearing deportation or legal problems will panic and pay the scammers what they are asking for without questioning the legitimacy of the caller.

To make the scam more believable scammers will often use caller ID spoofing to make it seem as if they are calling from the IRS.

How To Protect Yourself

The best way to protect yourself from the IRS phone scam is to know your rights! (And try to pay your taxes on time!) You should know the following:

  • You’ll always receive a notice of owed taxes via snail mail before you ever get a phone call.
  • You always have the right to dispute what you owe with the IRS.
  • You’ll never have to pay owed taxes via wire transfer or pre-paid debit/gift cards. This is the most common way in which phone scammers request money be sent.

By keeping these things in mind you can protect your information and your money. If you ever have any doubts about a phone call you’ve received consult a caller ID app. These useful apps will help you identify whether or not a number has been associated with a scam.

Additionally, if you ever think you might have been contacted by an IRS scammer you should contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration and report it.