Photo (cc) by CarbonNYC [in SF!]
Taxes seem to strike fear in the hearts of millions. And for some reason, that makes a few people lose their heads and hand out their personal information to strangers claiming to be from the IRS.
Before you get sucked into a tax-time scam, watch Money Talks News finance expert Stacy Johnson in the video below as he uncovers some of the common tricks used by scammers. Surprisingly, these scams aren’t always the bad guys trying to pull the wool over your eyes. Sometimes, the scams involve you trying to pull a fast one on the government.
Get the 411 from Stacy, and then keep reading for more on the dirty dozen tax scams.
Scam No. 1: It’s the IRS calling
This is a scam that’s been going around my community. Threatening IRS agents call and inform you the police have a warrant for your arrest. And unless you go to Walgreens, buy a prepaid debit card loaded with hundreds of dollars and call back with the number, you’re being carted off to the big house.
Walgreens? You think we’re going to fall for that, bad guys?
I’m sure all you MTN readers are too sophisticated to be taken in by this scam, but apparently some people do in fact get a prepaid card or wire money to the criminals. Make sure your elderly relatives or other people who may be susceptible know that if they get a call from the IRS, it’s fake.
But if you want to hear what one of these calls sounds like, you can take a listen at The Washington Post. If you’re really concerned you might owe money, you can call the IRS directly at 1-800-829-1040.
Scam No. 2: No, wait, it’s the IRS emailing
Let’s be very clear. The IRS lives in the Stone Age. They do not email. Ever.
Or at least, they don’t email you. They won’t be sending you an email saying you need to click a link and verify your identity to get a refund. Likewise, you won’t go to jail if you don’t click on their link and fill in your personal information.
It’s all a ruse to get you to give up information to the bad guys so they can steal from you, as you’ll see in scam No. 3.