Identity thieves have continued to use suspicious communications for years to trick, surprise, or scare taxpayers into revealing personal and financial information to file false tax returns and among other schemes.
Criminals are able to quickly file a fake tax return using a stolen SSN in hopes that the SSN hasn’t shown up on another filed tax return. This remains easily one of the biggest threats to taxpayers and tax professionals who do not occasionally protect their SSN and personal information.
Taxpayers usually do not know they’re a victim of identity theft until the IRS notifies them that there was an issue on their tax return or their tax return is rejected because the SSN appears to already be filed.
Text Message Scams
Text message scams are a very commonly used method that identity thieves use to deceive taxpayers. These text scams are sent to people’s mobile phones and use reference phrases like “stimulus payments” or COVID-19 and often contain bogus links claiming to be a trusted government site such as the IRS, which throws a good portion of taxpayers off. Other than IRS Secure Access, the IRS will never use text messages to discuss any personal tax issues.
If a taxpayer finds themselves receiving an unsolicited text that’s obviously a scam for money or personal information, take a screenshot of the said text message and include the screenshot in an email to email@example.com with the date, time, and time they received the text message, the phone number that received the text message, and a quick reminder from the IRS to not click links or open attachments in unsolicited and suspicious text messages from the IRS, state tax agencies or others in the tax community.
Email Phishing Scams
The IRS initiates most contacts through regular paper mail, the IRS would not initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information. The same process as text message scams, if taxpayers receive fraudulent emails that appear to be IRS or programs closely linked to the IRS, report it by sending the email as an attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Phone scams are one of the methods that scammers have the easiest time spoofing. What taxpayers should know is the IRS does not leave any pre-recorded, urgent, or threatening messages. What scammers like to do to scare their taxpayers is urge victims not to call back or else a warrant will be issued for their arrest. Anyone would be startled if they heard such news.
Criminals can spoof caller ID numbers to appear to be anywhere in the country, even from an IRS office, This prevents taxpayers from truly knowing and identifying the caller’s true phone number and not the spoof ID caller. In the past, criminals were able to spoof local sheriff’s offices, state DMVs, federal agencies, and others, to persuade and deceive taxpayers.
Resolve Your Tax Bills
If you’ve found yourself in a nasty mess with the IRS, take a deep breath. For taxpayers who may have difficulty paying off an excessive amount of tax debt, there’s a new and improved relief program that consolidates many major relief programs into a one-size-fits-all assistance program. Any issues regarding back taxes, unfiled years, or any other tax-related problems may be solved through one program; the IRS Fresh Start Program!
How Simple Is Qualifying?
Considering that the Fresh Start Program is a federal program, you would think meeting the qualifications may be very difficult, but really, it’s a lot simpler and quicker than you think. Take the following steps in order to find out if you are eligible in as little as 3 minutes.
- Fill out some basic information about yourself and your back taxes here.
- Have a representative reach out to you to discuss your eligibility.
- Go through the enrollment process and finally reduce or eliminate your tax liabilities.