Tax season has begun, but it's essential to remain vigilant of these scams that could cost you. First, we have the different types of scams that are currently happening.
1. 'You need to pay a small fee to get your stimulus check.'
This is a growing scam related to the government's ongoing response to the coronavirus, the Federal Trade Commission warns. Many Americans will qualify for a stimulus check, but the government (including the IRS) does not require anyone to pay anything to receive the money.
2. 'We're calling to tell you your identity was stolen; you need to buy some gift cards to fix it.'
In this trick, a criminal calls the victim and poses as an IRS agent. The criminal claims the victim's identity has been stolen and used to open fake bank accounts. The caller then tells the taxpayer to buy certain gift cards; later, the crook gets back in touch and asks for the gift card access numbers.
3. 'We'll cancel your Social Security number.'
"If taxpayers receive a call threatening to suspend their SSN for an unpaid tax bill, they should just hang up," the IRS says.
4 'This is the Bureau of Tax Enforcement, and we're putting a lien or levy on your assets'
There is no Bureau of Tax Enforcement. Victims often receive a letter from the fake agency claiming that they have a tax lien or tax levy and better pay the "Bureau of Tax Enforcement."
5. 'You owe the Federal Student Tax.'
There is no federal student tax.
Finally, we have a list of red flags that let you know it could be a tax scam.
- They're calling you first. The IRS contacts taxpayers by mail first; it doesn't initiate contact via a random phone call.
- They're leaving a prerecorded voice mail. The IRS doesn't leave prerecorded, urgent or threatening voicemails.
- They're emailing you. The IRS doesn't initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information.
- They're texting you. The IRS doesn't initiate contact with taxpayers by text message to request personal or financial information.
- They're contacting you via social media. The IRS doesn't initiate contact with taxpayers on social media channels to request personal or financial information.
- They're asking for a credit card or debit card number over the phone. The IRS doesn't do that.
If you have additional questions or would like to read more about possible tax scams, you can visit https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/tax-scams-consumer-alerts
You can also report possible scams by reporting them to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) online or calling TIGTA at 1-800-366-4484.