In recent months, new tax scam tricks and variations have materialized. Taxpayers are warned to remain on high alert and protect themselves against the increasing amount of fraudulent tactics tax scam artists use to trick people.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued a consumer alert providing taxpayers with tips to protect themselves from tax scam artists calling and pretending to be with the IRS. These fraudulent activities are occurring over the telephone, in emails, or through authentic-looking letters with the IRS letterhead. Tax scammers try tricking taxpayers into providing personal financial information by means of scaring people into making a false tax payment that ends up with the criminal.
The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) reports of roughly 600,000 contacts since October 2013. TIGTA is also aware of nearly 4,000 victims who have collectively reported over $20 million in financial losses resulting from tax scams.
IRS Commissioner John Koskinen offered his comment about the ever-evolving tax scam increase.
“We continue to see these aggressive tax scams across the country. Scam artists specialize in being deceptive and fooling people. The IRS urges taxpayers to be extra cautious and think twice before answering suspicious phone calls, emails, or letters.”
According to the IRS, tax scam criminals pose as IRS agents. First, they target people they view as most vulnerable, such as older Americans, newly arrived immigrants, and those whose first language is not English.
In a CBS 4interview, Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman stresses that education is the key to stopping a tax scam.
“There has been an increase in calls to Spanish-speaking communities — to Hispanic and Latino customers. It’s immoral. It’s just so unfair to do this to a community that’s already struggling living paycheck to paycheck.”
However, the IRS reports these criminals have extended their net and are now targeting nearly anyone.
One of the newer tax scam tricks involves a deceitful variation. Tax scammers change what appears on your telephone caller ID to make it appear as if they are with the IRS or another agency such as the Department of Motor Vehicles.