Tax season brings with it a unique set of challenges. The last thing you need this time of year is yet another challenge to add to the mix. Fraudsters know this and capitalize on it with a variety of tools coming from multiple angles.
Perhaps one of the most intimidating and effective tools used by criminals is impersonating the IRS by attempting to communicate fraudulent information to taxpayers. Official-sounding threats can bring anxiety to just about anyone who is gullible enough to believe them.
But how can you differentiate between official IRS communication and the fraudulent kind? It helps to first know what the IRS will never do.
- The IRS will never place calls demanding payment (you will get a letter).
- They never ask for specific forms of payment such as prepaid debit cards.
- You will never be asked for credit card information over the phone.
- IRS officials will never threaten arrest or threaten to file a lawsuit.
These rules of thumb apply to both phone calls and emails. Generally, official IRS correspondence will arrive via U.S. Mail. It may be old fashioned and slow, but it’s predictable and official.
So bottom line, if you feel you are being targeted by someone impersonating the IRS in a form other than a letter in the mail, you can ignore the threat, and better yet report it to the authorities.