8 Tips to Avoid IRS Phone Scams During Tax Season


8 Tips to Avoid IRS Phone Scams During Tax Season | thegoodstuff

Consumers are in a silent battle against scammers.

We can all fall victim to a scam and before we even realize it, some stranger has our personal information. They take our money, our credit, even our identity.

Scams are seasonal. Around the holidays there are charity scams. If there’s a natural disaster, you’ll find relief effort scams. With tax season in full swing, scammers are pulling out their old tricks and some clever new ones to try and take advantage of us.

But we have our own weapons to fight back with. It really is up to us to protect ourselves. And for starters, knowledge is power.

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1. Know your finances

Regardless of the time of year, you should always have a basic knowledge of your personal finances. For example, it’s important to stay on top of how much money you have in your bank accounts. Review them weekly.

Also, check your credit card charges regularly, as well as your credit report.

AnnualCreditReport.com offers three free copies of your credit report a year. If you find any unusual charges or activity, contact the credit card company and the credit reporting agencies immediately.

Oftentimes we find out that someone has our credit information after the damage is done. Taking these steps puts you in a proactive position of protecting yourself.

2. Update & create strong passwords

These days we do a lot of banking and shopping online. This requires using passwords.

Make sure you change your passwords regularly and that they’re unique, not a birthday or anniversary.

If you have trouble remembering your passwords, consider using a password manager, which is a software application or hardware that organizes passwords and encrypts them. You then create a master password that allows you to access your password database. This may help protect you.

3. Use the National Do Not Call Registry

How to Avoid IRS Scam Phone Calls | thegoodstuff

Put your name on the National Do Not Call Registry. This helps somewhat with keeping scammers away, but not entirely. You still shouldn’t give out your contact information unless there’s a reason to.

4. Does the IRS contact you by phone? No.

How to Avoid an IRS Phone Call Scam | thegoodstuff

It’s important to know that the IRS only contacts people through the mail. They do not call you.

If you get a call from the “IRS,” you need to hang up.

Unfortunately, scammers know that elderly people are very vulnerable and tend to fall for these calls. Make sure you explain to your parents and grandparents that if someone calls asking for personal information — even if the caller claims they’re from the IRS — they need to take a name and number or just hang up.

5. Avoid IRS scams that pretend to verify your information

Another way scammers try to get you to turn over personal information over the phone is by pretending to verify your information.

For example, they may call and have some of your personal information correct, such as your name, address, phone number, birthday, and the name of your bank. They sound official, right?

Then they ask you to verify your social security number or bank account. Don’t fall for it.

Scammers may also pose as tax planners giving consultations over the phone. In this case, it’s a good idea to just hang up.

6. Watch out for IRS scams in your email

How to Avoid an IRS Scam Call | thegoodstuff

Email is another way scammers can successfully steal your information. They’ve mastered making fake emails and websites look official.

The IRS doesn’t randomly send emails regarding a refund or a bill to taxpayers. If you receive one of these, do not click on any of the links because this may lead you straight into a scammers arms.

7. Check out the IRS Dirty Dozen list for the latest IRS phone scams

The IRS publishes their Dirty Dozen List online, which lets taxpayers know the top scams to look out for. You can find the list on the official IRS.gov website here.

8. Who do I call for IRS scam reporting?

How to Avoid Fake IRS Calls | thegoodstuff

If you’re targeted by an IRS scam, you can call the U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration 1-800-366-4484 or go to the IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting website to file a report.

You can also file an online complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. Choose “Scams & Ripoffs,” then “Imposter Scams,” and make sure you clearly explain that you’re filing a complaint regarding an IRS phone scam.


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