Watch Out For Tax Scams

T-shirts and Calculators: Watch Out For Tax Scams
by Saima Uribe

My phone rang today with a very distraught elderly woman on the other end, saying there was a warrant out for her arrest and that the police were coming to get her.  Let me go on to say that this was not a random prank caller, but rather my panic-stricken mother-in-law calling me.  Apparently, a gentleman from the IRS called her to tell her that there was a mistake made on her 2010 tax returns and that she needs to pay $1,654.37 in order to rectify the problem. She said that the person gave her a case number and said that she had to pay using a debit card or via wire transfer. Needless to say, she was concerned and told them that she would have to call her accountant (Yes…she meant me!). They went on to threaten her, saying this was a very urgent matter, there was a warrant out for her arrest, and that if she didn’t pay immediately the police would show up to her door to arrest her. One hour later, I finally convinced my mother-in-law that this was an elaborate scam and that she should disregard anything that they said to her.

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All of that said, allow me to save anyone else the anguish of going through this with a loved one, by saying that the IRS will NEVER call you and demand immediate payment, threaten to bring local police, demand you pay taxes without giving you a chance to appeal, or ask you for credit card or debit numbers over the phone.  

This might sound like common sense to you and you are probably wondering why I am even bringing up such a trivial topic, but the thing with con artists, is that they are always perfecting their craft!  They’ve branched out and had a surge in email, phishing and malware schemes.  The IRS saw an approximate 400% increase in incidents in the 2016 tax season.  The best way to avoid these situations altogether is to stay one step ahead of these con artists and do your research.  You can do this is by going to www.irs.gov and accessing a complete list of the latest scams.  You can also reach the IRS directly at 800-829-1040.  Please don’t be fooled by the con artists and scammers.  If you have any questions, you can always contact us, or your local accountant.  Here at Joshua Lance CPA, LLC, we want to make sure that our clients’ keep their hard earned money right where it belongs!