As we are entering the beginning stretch of 2015 tax season, ‘Scam’ season is concurrently revving up to kick into gear.
Each year, tax season becomes an opportunity for unscrupulous characters to prey on millions of unsuspecting, hard working individuals. Thieves are getting more creative, and are using more sophisticated methods to capture their share what has become a billion dollar industry.
The largest phone scam the Internal Revenue Service has ever seen has targeted more than 20,000 taxpayers, the agency’s inspector general J. Russell George said recently.
Thousands of victims have lost a total of more than $1 million.
How It Works:
Some unscrupulous person, disguised as an IRS employee will unexpectedly call a victim. During the conversation, he or she will claim that the victim owes money. Using threatening language, the con artist will demand that the victim promptly pay through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. If the victim refuses to cooperate, they are then threatened with arrest, deportation or suspension of a business or driver’s license.
They request prepaid debit cards because they are harder to trace than bank cards. Prepaid debit cards are different from bank cards because they are not connected to a bank account. Instead, consumers buy the cards at stores, and use them just like a bank card, until the money runs out or they add more.
Note that the IRS will never:
- call to demand immediate payment, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill
- demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe
- require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card
- ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone
- threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying