Guardian Tax Law Blog

How to Spot and Avoid IRS Tax Scams

IRS Tax Scams

Criminals are devious and relentless, and they will always try to find ways to scam people out of their hard-earned money. The fear everyone has of the Internal Revenue Service helps the would-be bad guys with their endeavors. After all, panic tends to set in as soon as people believe the IRS is trying to get in touch with them regarding a problem with their taxes.

Savvy criminals often attempt to impersonate agents from the IRS. They may do this over the phone, through email, or even inperson. While most people feel they would never fall for a scam like this, the truth is far different. It happens to a lot of people. Make sure you understand some of the basic types of schemes, so you can avoid them. Also, work with a tax attorney if you do have tax issues.

Common Types of Schemes

What you need to realize is that the IRS will only contact you in certain ways. The IRS, will generally first mail a paper bill to a person who owes taxes, who is going to be audited, etc. In some cases, the IRS may call you or come to your home or place of business. This tends to be rare, though.

Something they will not do is send you an email and start asking questions. Anyone who gets an email from the “IRS” should report it to the actual IRS by sending the information to phishing@irs.gov. Additionally, if you have received an email do not click on any links, open any attachments, reply, or interact with the email in any way that could present a risk.

Criminals will also use the phone to target people. As mentioned, the IRS could call you, but it’s rare. Contact is typically initiated via postal mail. If you receive a call, and you believe it is the IRS, don’t panic quite yet. The IRS will not leave urgent, pre-recorded, or threatening messages. They will not threaten you with action by law enforcement, they won’t request immediate payment through debit cards, gift cards, etc., and they will not ask for checks made out to third parties.

Criminals can spoof their numbers to make it appear as though they are calling from just about anywhere. You can’t rely on the number to determine whether it’s legitimate or not. Instead, if you feel there could be an issue, it’s a good idea to connect with a tax law professional, who can investigate the matter for you.

What If You Have Legitimate Tax Problems?

Sometimes, you might find out that the IRS does want to get in touch with you because of a tax issue. Again, try not to panic. Instead, make it a point to get in touch with an attorney for your IRS tax help.

When choosing a tax lawyer, take the time to learn as much as possible about the attorney and/or the firm. Where do they do business? How long have they been practicing? The more you learn the better equipped you will be to make a good and smart decision choosing an attorney.

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