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IRS Agent Impersonator Fraud on the Rise

As technology has improved over time, so has the complexity of scams designed to steal from the unwary.  Most people have heard about emails of some far-fetched story claiming to be royalty that needs money sent to them.  They promise if you send them money that when whatever made up problem is done they will return a large sum of money back.  Of course they just take the money sent to them and disappear never to be heard from again.

Another common scam is called phishing.  Victims of a phishing scam receive an email that looks to be from your financial institution stating there is a problem with your account.  It has you log into your account through the email to resolve the issue.  What is actually happening is that the email is a fake and when you think you are logging into your account it’s actually capturing your information.  Then they take the info and log into your actual account and take money.

Using the "IRS" to defraud potential scam victims

The scams are going even more in-depth now.  People are now even using the IRS to trick people.  There are multiple ways people have incorporated the IRS into scams to trick people into giving up money.  It has become common enough that the IRS has warned people of what people are trying and how to protect themselves.  One of these is that victims are called and told they owe money to the IRS.  The person on the other end attempts to convince them that the money must be paid immediately using a prepaid debit card or wire transfer.  If they are unwilling to make a payment the scammers threaten them with arrest, deportation, or suspension of either a business or driver’s license.

There are some points the IRS has laid out to help people avoid scams like this.  The most important is to know that they will never ask for credit card numbers over the phone.  They also never request payment from wire transfers or prepaid debit cards.   In addition, their agents should not threaten people with punishments like suspension of licenses or being arrested.

Has your private information gone public?

Another scam that is growing in popularity involves obtaining personal information when a lien is filed against someone by the IRS.  Many people might be surprised to know that a lien filed by the IRS is considered public record.  The scammers will contact their victims and use this information to imitate an IRS agent.  They push the person into meeting them immediately to settle the debt for a lesser amount than what is owed.  People are tricked into believing this since they have knowledge that was thought to be private.  In an effort to settle the debt while saving money, people are more easily tricked into turning over the money.  Unfortunately, once money is given to them it’s gone forever.

Whenever anyone claiming to be from the IRS contacts you, make sure to verify they are who they claim to be.  Remember that if you do owe the IRS money, it’s always a good idea to consult with a certified tax attorney to make sure that you are protected and that your best interests are being fought for.