Criminals who use personal information to steal your identity, open credit cards in your name or access your bank accounts have discovered that they can get you to willingly provide them with everything they need. All it takes is a little acting. That tactic is called phishing and is typically carried out by email, phone, text or other digital means. In many cases it’s obvious that the person isn’t who they claim to be because you’ve had previous communication and know it’s not their writing style or voice.
Ex5 Podcast Episode 6: Taxes
One such phishing attempt that has been successful is for the thief to take on the character of an IRS official. They play on our fear of authorities and take advantage of our limited knowledge into how government agencies actually work. In this particular scheme, the voice on the other end of the phone tells you that the sheriff or police are on their way to your house with a warrant for your arrest and that if you provide your bank account information over the phone, the caller can immediately clear up the issue (at least until the next “payment” is due).
While there may be many warning signs along the way during that call, it can be very frightening, but rest-assured that it’s a scam. The one thing that gives it away is that it is a phone call. If the IRS believes you owe them money, disagrees with your tax filings or is taking any type of action, you will receive a letter in the mail from the IRS with detailed information. You can then always confirm the authenticity of the letter by calling an IRS number using one of the phone numbers on their website (irs.gov) and providing them your tax ID number or the reference number on the letter.
An IRS representative can explain the letter you received and you can either work with them directly or utilize an accountant to assist in resolving any potential issue.