Taxes are one of the few guaranteed things in life. For criminals, they’re one more opportunity to pull off a scam, often by posing as the Internal Revenue Service.
The scams typically start with a phone call and have two different versions:
- In the first, the IRS imposter will say you owe back taxes and pressure you into paying via wire transfer or prepaid debit card. They’ll make hyperbolic threats saying you’ll be arrested if you don’t pay up.
- In the other version of this scam, imposters will claim they are issuing tax refunds and ask for your bank information, so they can send you your money. Once they have your bank info, they steal from your account and disappear.
These scams start with a serious sounding “robocall” recording. Imposters work hard to appear real—giving fake badge numbers and names. They even can make your caller ID show the call is coming from Washington D.C. Criminals will follow up their calls with emails, using an IRS logo and official-sounding language.
Still unsure if it’s a scam? If you’re feeling pressured or bullied, that’s a red flag. Scammers try to push people into action before they have time to think about what they’re doing. The IRS:
- WILL give you the chance to ask questions or appeal what you owe.
- WILL contact you first by mail, not phone or email. They will only call you about outstanding debts after they’ve sent you a notice in the mail.
- WILL NOT ask you to pay them with a wire transfer, gift card, or prepaid debit card.
- MIGHT call you about outstanding debts, but not until they’ve sent you a notice in the mail.
If you suspect you’ve fallen victim to a scam, act quickly. First, contact the IRS and file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. Next, reach out to us at NorthCountry. We may not be able to retrieve your lost funds, but we can help protect you from additional loss.