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April 04, 2024 / Ray Wills
How to spot IRS imposters

How to spot IRS imposters

Internal Revenue Service imposters are busy all year, but especially during tax season and the few months immediately thereafter. Their tactic is to create fear, and they will threaten you with arrest or other government sanctions if you don’t pay right away.

An imposter will likely know some of your personal identifying information and try to get you to verify the rest. Never give this information to anyone over the phone unless you called them and are certain they are who they say they are. If you get a call like this and just aren’t sure, hang up and call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040. Be prepared to wait and to verify your identity.

Here are some tips for spotting IRS imposters:

  • The first contact method for the IRS will be by mail. They will never text or email regarding unpaid taxes.
  • Don’t trust your Caller ID. This can be easily spoofed.
  • Never wire money. The real IRS will never ask for prepaid debit cards. They will not accept gift cards for payment.

You also must beware of tax filing scams. When filing your return, be alert to these signs of possible identityGraphic of a burglar on a phone with a laptop. theft:

  • You receive a letter from the IRS inquiring about a suspicious tax return that you did not file.
  • You can’t e-file your tax return because of a duplicate Social Security number.
  • You receive a tax transcript in the mail that you did not request.
  • You receive an IRS notice that an online account has been created in your name or that your existing online account has been accessed or disabled.
  • You receive an IRS notice that you owe additional tax or refund offset, or that you have had collection actions taken against you for a year you did not file a tax return.
  • IRS records indicate you received wages or other income from an employer you didn’t work for.
  • You’ve been assigned an Employer Identification Number, but you did not request an EIN.

If you believe that someone has filed a fraudulent tax return using your personal identifying information, contact the IRS right away. Resources are available at www.irs.gov.

 

Ray Wills is security officer for F&M Trust.

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