It seems that every tax season a new IRS scam does the rounds and unfortunately a lot of people fall for the scam and have their personal information stolen. You can avoid falling for an IRS scam. Many people think that if they just don’t file their taxes online that they are not subject to scams, but this is just not the case. You can be the victim of such a scam regardless of how you pay your taxes, or even if you don’t pay your taxes! You too may be in danger if you don’t know how to protect yourself.
Common IRS Fraud Ploys
Most of the IRS scams that are perpetuated against unknowing citizens happen through the internet, though this is not always the case. What happens is that an email is sent to an individual stating that they have a refund waiting for them, and the email appears to come from the IRS. In fact, in the past the email addresses would be email@example.com and things of this nature, lending some credence to the email.
In the email the individual would be told that they had a refund due to them and they just needed to visit the IRS website to validate the refund and choose how they would like it to be sent to them. A link is embedded in the email and the individual clicks on it and is taken to a site where they will need to complete the form. The form looks as though it will give them access to their refund and they are asked to validate who they are by entering in a social security number, date of birth, and a bank account number that they would like to have the refund deposited into. Many people go through the whole process and never think that what they have just fallen prey to is an IRS scam.
What happens from here is that the people behind the IRS scam have access to all of the relevant information to effectively steal this person’s identity and clean out there accounts. Many times the scammers will immediately withdraw all of the money from the person’s bank account and then open up credit card accounts in their name, steal their stock money, and more. There is no limit as to what could be done when a person has the social security number, address, date of birth, and name of a person. Unfortunately when you have given someone this information you cannot just get it back or turn it off, they can continue to do damage until they can no longer get anything in your name, and then it is up to you to deal with the mess.
It takes many people years to get their finances back on track if this happens to them, and some people never recover. A lot of people aren’t able to get a job, buy a car, or even buy a home because their credit and their name are totally destroyed by the thief. This can be a devastating experience, so the important thing to do is protect yourself from IRS scams. You can do this quite easily.
How to Avoid Being a Victim of an IRS Scam
To avoid being scammed you need to remember that the IRS rarely sends unsolicited emails. If IRS did send you an email, they would never ask you to enter such information into their system and you never have to fill out any special forms or validate refunds as these are issued automatically when you file your taxes. If you remember this information you will find that it is not as difficult as you might think to steer clear of an IRS scam. The same things apply to receiving requests from the IRS through the mail; information such as this will not be requested by the IRS.
If you receive something that looks like it is from the IRS you should check it out before you simply send off your personal information. You can call the IRS and ask them if a refund is owed to you, and they will be able to answer you. It is always better to check with the internal revenue service if you are not sure, or if something looks suspicious to hold off on responding until you know for sure that it is legit.