Tax Month (Scam) Extends All Year
Tax scams don’t just occur during tax season. The IRS has identified ongoing tax schemes that cyber criminals are using throughout the year. Tax payers are encouraged to stay alert for these increasingly common types of fraud. The elderly are particularly at risk for these ongoing scams.
Popular, year-round attacks include phony claims for additional tax payments. These claims may be accompanied by a threat to file a tax lien or garnishment or to cancel a victim’s social security number. In some cases, scammers even lead victims to believe they will be arrested if the fraudulent tax payments are not made.
Tax fraud schemes may be conducted by email, but according to the IRS website, the IRS does not use email for tax payer communications. Other attacks are initiated by telephone using a fake caller ID number to trick a victim. Consumers should be on alert for any communications from the IRS initiated through these methods. Regular mail is the most common way the IRS will contact consumers.
Regardless of the type of scam, the goal is for the victim to provide personal information or make a fraudulent payment to a criminal. In many cases, the fraudster demands that the taxpayer use gift cards or prepaid debit cards to make payments. Report any such requests to the IRS; the IRS does not accept these payment methods, and this is indicative of a scam.
If you or a bank customer believe they are the victim of a tax fraud scheme, do not give out any information or make any payments. If you think you have been targeted, visit the IRS’s Impersonation Scam reporting page.