IRS offers tips to avoid scams during tax season
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - With this year’s tax season in full swing, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is reminding people to be aware of scams.
The ways people communicate evolve over time. So, too, do the tactics used by scammers according to IRS Spokesperson David Tucker II who said, “Whether that’s using a text message, whether that’s using email, which is called a phishing scam, or if that’s using social media, like through Facebook or other forms of outreach, Twitter, things of that nature.”
Tucker said IRS scams are particularly common during tax season, “Especially scams that try to impersonate being an IRS representative.”
Often, scammers will say the victim owes the IRS money, and ask for bank account information. “If they have someone calling them and asking for personal or financial information, they should never provide that over the phone, never provide that in a text message, never provide it at all,” Tucker explained.
Sometimes, scammers will demand payment over the phone through a prepaid card or gift card. Tucker said, “If anyone does have a tax liability, we offer people a variety of ways in which they can resolve that, but we don’t demand it be paid in, like, a gift card or prepaid debit card.”
Also, the IRS does not use any of the above communication methods. “We generally always send a letter or a notice to a taxpayer to let them know that we have a question about their tax return or if there’s something we need to resolve,” he said.
According to Tucker, it’s important to make sure that one’s loved ones, both young and old, are aware of the dangers. “Children often have email accounts now, or are on different social media, or even have a phone as well, and they should also be cognizant of the fact that there are scammers out there.”
Anyone who suspects they may be the victim of a scam is encouraged to go to the IRS website for information on how to protect oneself from identity theft.
If someone is having their taxes prepared by a third party, Tucker also recommends double checking with the IRS or the Better Business Bureau to make sure the tax preparer is legitimate.
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