IRS warns tax scams are on the rise

INDIANAPOLIS — Tax time is upon us, making it prime time for scammers to try to trick you.

The Internal Revenue Service has issued a warning about the most popular tax scams you may face this tax season.

“Tax time is scam time,” Luis Garcia, an IRS spokesperson, told WRTV. “Unfortunately, whenever there is money at stake, stimulus payments or tax refunds, the scammers come out of the woodwork.”

SMS scams

The IRS says that since last year they have seen an increase in text messages impersonating the IRS.

“The IRS will never text you,” Garcia told WRTV.

If you receive an unsolicited SMS/text that appears to be from the IRS or a program closely related to the IRS, take a screenshot of the text message and include the screenshot in an email to [email protected] with the following information:

  • Date/time/time zone of SMS reception
  • Phone number that received the SMS

Phishing email scams

If you receive an unsolicited email that appears to be from the IRS or a program closely related to the IRS that is fraudulent, report it by sending it as an attachment to [email protected] You can also visit the Report Phishing and Online Scams page.

“The IRS will never email you out of the blue,” Garcia said.

Do not click on links or open attachments in unsolicited, suspicious, or unexpected text messages, whether from the IRS, state tax agencies, or other members of the tax community .

“They’ll try to seduce you with the carrot that you have money coming, or the stick that is if you don’t respond or pay us, we’re going to do this bad to you,” Garcia said.

Unemployment Fraud

As a new tax season begins, the IRS reminds taxpayers to watch out for claims for unemployment or other benefits they never applied for.

“Unemployment scams where someone stole your identity maybe in another state and filed for unemployment is a scam that has been picked up by criminal organizations,” Garcia said. “It’s very sophisticated. “You don’t know until you get this 1099-G, a statement from the state of Indiana or another state that you received unemployment benefits when in fact you don’t. ‘have not done.”

The IRS says states have seen an increase in fraudulent unemployment claims filed by organized crime networks using stolen identities.

Because unemployment benefits are taxable income, states issue Form 1099-G, Certain Government Payments, to recipients and the IRS to report the amount of taxable compensation received and any withholdings.

The IRS says any worker who receives a fraudulent or inaccurate 1099-G should report it to the issuing state agency and request a corrected Form 1099-G.

For details on how to report fraud to state labor agencies, how to get a corrected 1099-G form, how to find a list of state contacts, and other steps to take. for unemployment fraud, taxpayers can visit the US Department of Labor’s DOL. gov/fraud page.

You could be a victim of identity theft if you received:

  • Mail from a government agency regarding an unemployment claim or payment for which they have not filed. This includes unexpected payments or debit cards and can be from any state.
  • An IRS Form 1099-G showing unemployment benefits they did not expect or did not receive. Box 1 of this form may show unemployment benefits they did not receive or an amount that exceeds their records for benefits they did receive. The form itself may be from a state in which they have not filed for benefits.
  • A notice from your employer that the employer has received a request for information about an unemployment claim.

Phone scams

Garcia says it’s not true that the IRS will never call you.

“We actually call, but it’s very rare, and if you do, you usually have a stack of letters from the IRS that you haven’t answered,” Garcia said.

The IRS does not leave pre-recorded, urgent or threatening messages.

“Keep the three big red flags in mind – we’re not going to threaten you, we’re not going to demand immediate payment, and we’re not going to demand any particular form of payment,” Garcia said. “If that happens, hang up or delete the email or whatever.”

Criminals can falsify or “spoof” caller ID numbers to make it look like they are anywhere in the country, including from a tax office.

The IRS (and its authorized private collection agencies) do not:

  • Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card, or wire transfer. The IRS does not use these methods for paying taxes.
  • Threatening to immediately call local police or other law enforcement groups to arrest the taxpayer for nonpayment.
  • Demand that taxes be paid without giving the taxpayer the opportunity to dispute or appeal the amount owed.
  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

For anyone who doesn’t owe taxes and has no reason to think they do:

For anyone who owes tax or thinks of doing so:

  • Check the tax account information online at IRS.gov to see the actual amount owed. Taxpayers can also review their payment options.
  • Call the number on the billing notice or
  • Call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040. IRS employees can help you.

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