Hopefully most people, if not everyone, is aware of the ongoing scams regarding the IRS. There are hundreds of thousands of innocent households being contacted by phone, letter, or even email from companies or con artists that are impersonating the IRS. The communication that is coming from these companies is stating that the person owes back taxes to the IRS. Or they may be stating that the taxpayer is due a refund or there is some other story being given.
What many people may not know is that these scams are still occurring, even as of June 2016 (which is two months after the April income tax deadline). In fact, it is projected that the communication from these fraudulent companies may take place all year round, so matter when the income tax filing deadlines were.
To put this problem into perspective, the United States Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) is aware of over 1,000,000 instances of this scam being run since October 2013, including many that are targeting the elderly. Many experts that that the one million number is only a fraction of the number of taxpayers contacted. As most people do not report when they are contacted. Find other ways to prevent financial scams targeting the elderly.
Tactics are evolving throughout 2016
You need to be aware of the ever changing tactics when it comes to this IRS scam. The companies or individual that are perpetuating this problem take different approaches, especially now that the issue is having more publicity brought to it during 2016. They are also targeting even more senior citizens and vulnerable people Just a few examples of what may be occurring is below.
As of June 2016, the most common form of fraud is a person (or even “computer”) stating that you owe your state or federal government money. They will pressure or threaten you and want immediate payment. They often request bank account numbers, credit card information, and other financial details. This is always fraud. Note the IRS will never call or email you.
TIGTA is also now aware of con artists now calling people saying that the IRS owes you money! Or they may even state some ridiculous claim that instead of the IRS paying the refund, you won a prize, such as the lottery! As noted above, the government will never call or email you. So not not give these types of con artists your information.
IRS cons around Unclaimed earnings, income or some other form of unclaimed money are also increasing. You may receive a letter, email, or telephone call saying that the IRS has determined that you are owed money for some reason. Maybe it was an uncashed check or money from a passed away relative. Or maybe they say you are due some form of legal settlement, or they will say a senior citizen has a pension they did not claim. This too will never take place. In fact, the IRS is not even responsible for unclaimed money as of 2016.
Note there can be many other approaches used to push these scams on the unsuspecting. Those are only a few of maybe the more common examples that have been occurring in 2016, and the practice will certainly evolve more. The point being is you should never give out any personal or financial information. The government will not call or email you either. They only use formal written communication in the mail. But even you should closely review those letters too before replying.
Always report this IRS fraud to the IRS at 1-800-829-1040. Also, feel free to call that number to verify if the communication you have received is valid. A customer service representative from the IRS will provide advice, and that is the main customer service number to dial.