Be Careful…There Are A Lot Of IRS-related Scams Going On Right Now
Authorities continue to warn people about a variety of different active scams that have duped people out of more than $50 million nationwide already.
It's tough not to be a little worried when you open up your email and see something that appears to be from the IRS. The email warns that you owe back taxes and you must update your IRS file immediately or face consequences. That's enough for people to overlook the real details in the email and thats exactly the problem authorities are warning about.
According to the Bangor Daily News, there are currently several different scams circulating nationwide, including right here in Maine. In some cases, robots will call your house or cell phone directly and claim you still owe the IRS a balance. They suggest the best way to settle up is with Visa or iTunes gift cards. SCAM.
Another clever tactic has been using a number that appears local on caller ID, perhaps a local IRS office, and then claiming you still owe money from last years taxes that must be settled up immediately. And lastly, some scams have included the threat of immediate arrest if your "debt" isn't settled on the spot. All of these are scams and all of these have cost people millions of dollars.
Authorities advise caution when dealing with these scams and suggest you never do the following:
- Give out any vital personal information like your social security number
- Never pay anything over the phone with your bank account or routing numbers
- Never pay with gift cards or prepaid credit cards
If you're still unsure if you're talking to someone who is legit, ask questions about them. If they hesitate or refuse to answer, chances are you're in the midst of a scam. Studies suggest that scamming during tax season will go up again in 2017 but with just a little care and understanding, the rise can be curbed. Good luck.