Don’t Fall for Tax Season Scams

It’s April, and for many, the month brings warmer weather and beautiful spring flowers. For others, April is marked by the always-looming tax deadline, this year coming Tuesday, April 17.

Unfortunately, seniors – because they are most likely to have a “nest egg,” to own their home and/or to have excellent credit – are one of the more vulnerable populations for tax-related scams and fraud schemes.

To protect yourself and your loved ones from being a target, there are a few things the IRS and FBI suggest you look out for. Here are a few key ones.

  • Telemarketing scams often involve offers of free prizes, low-cost vitamins and health care products, and inexpensive vacations. If you receive a call from someone offering any of these, they are most likely a scammer.
  • Some scammers pretend to be IRS agents, demanding money for unpaid taxes. To recognize a con artist when you get a call, it’s important to remember that the IRS will never:
    • 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 tax payments. Generally, the IRS will first mail a bill to any taxpayer who owes taxes. All tax payments should be made payable only to the U.S. Treasury, and checks should never be made payable to third parties.
    • Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have the taxpayer arrested for not paying.
    • Demand that taxes be paid without giving the taxpayer the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed.
    • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
  • If you suspect a scam, do not give out any information. Hang up immediately and call 800-366-4484 to report it to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.

Following these tips can help you steer clear of danger.

Come tax season, all you should be worried about is what you’re going to spend your refund on!