We are living in uncertain times and that leaves us plenty to worry about. Unfortunately, scammers see IRS tax relief such as stimulus checks as a way to capitalize on the pandemic. The TaxBandits team knows that you have a lot on your mind these days and getting caught up in an IRS scam doesn’t need to be one of them.
Here are some scams that you should be aware of and tips for recognizing them.
What Scams Are Out There Right Now?
One of the main scams that is circulating right now is directly related to the COVID-19 stimulus checks. Scammers know that many Americans both are urgently seeking these checks and are not completely sure how the distribution system works. This creates a perfect storm for schemers.
The goal of these schemers is to get not only your IRS payment, but as much as your personal information as possible, including your bank account and social security number. This allows them to commit identity fraud and worst of all to make off with your much needed money.
How Will Scammers Try To Reach Me?
As technology advances, so does the ability of scammers to manipulate folks. Phone calls are usually the most common avenue for scammers to reach you. Scammers will call you posing as an employee of the IRS.
One of the most common calls going around amid the pandemic involves asking you to confirm your personal information so that you can receive a stimulus check. They will claim that they are missing information that is crucial to you receiving your check.
Scammers may also claim that you owe a debt to the IRS and they will strongly urge you to sign over your stimulus check to cover this debt. There are also a variety of email scams going around.
These emails will claim to be IRS official, however, they will direct you to a site where you will be prompted to “update” your personal information for IRS records.
How Do I Recognize A Scam?
This can be tough, during this uncertain time, and any time in general, we want to see the best in people. So many of us would never dream of taking advantage of others in this way, so we don’t expect this to happen to us. Just remember, the IRS DOES NOT ask for your personal information via phone or email.
Therefore, if you are on a call with someone who is pressuring you into providing sensitive information, they are not an IRS employee. Soliciting personal information and/ or money via phone or email is NOT an IRS practice.
What Should I Do If I Have Been Targeted?
If you are on a call with someone claiming to be from the IRS and you are spotting red flags, hang up immediately. It is also a great idea to report this to the IRS. They are constantly tracking schemes and IRS scams, which are constantly changing. It is much easier for them to do this if you report your experience.
Simply use the subject line, “IRS Phone Scam” or “IRS Email Scam”.
Tax Professionals Are Not Immune
As scammers have gotten more and more sophisticated, they have shifted from only targeting individuals to targeting CPA’s and service providers. Cybercriminals are constantly seeking ways to gain access to their client’s data.
This means that CPAs and service providers must be extra vigilant with the security of their software and their access credentials. Updating safeguards as they become available is key.
One of the great benefits of electronic filing is the security of your data and sensitive information. The TaxBandits software is designed with your security being the utmost priority.