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Is It Really the IRS? These 5 Red Flags Guarantee You Are Being Scammed

October 26, 2020

Our New Jersey tax professionals have several years of experience dealing with IRS scams and their consequences for our clients.

How Do You Know It’s Definitely a Scam?

The IRS has pretty straightforward communication methods, so if you notice any of the following, don’t give them any information and contact the actual IRS or your tax professional right away.

  • They reach out by phone call, email or text message. The IRS is old-fashioned and always sends at least their first communication by mail.  If you receive a phone call, email or text message from somebody claiming to be an IRS agent, either ignore it or contact the IRS directly at 1-800-829-1040 to confirm that the message is not from them.
  • Threats to get law enforcement involved. A common tactic for IRS scammers is to demand that the taxpayer make a payment over the phone and claim they will get police or immigration officers involved if the taxpayer does not comply.  The IRS will never demand immediate payments, nor do they have the power to involve law enforcement regarding a civil matter like an outstanding tax bill.
  • Demands a specific payment method. The IRS will not attempt to dictate which payment method a taxpayer uses for their bill.  Scammers often will demand that the taxpayer use a prepaid debit or gift card, and ask for card numbers or bank account information to “process the payment.”.
  • The tone of the communication. A real IRS communication will be polished and professional and will not consist of yelling, poor grammar or threats.  Many IRS scams are based outside of the United States, so if you receive a communication with poor English and an awkward or angry tone, you are definitely not dealing with the actual IRS and should ignore it.
  • They demand a repayment of your refund. A relatively new, but already common, scam comes in the form of the scammer having a real refund deposited directly into the taxpayer’s bank account (filing a bogus return using taxpayer information they stole) and then posing as the IRS to demand the refund back, claiming it was paid by mistake.  If you suddenly see a large sum of money in your bank account that wasn’t there before, contact the IRS directly and do not answer any form of communication from somebody claiming to work for them.

At Frank W. Kapitza & Associates, we are fully aware of the prevalence of IRS scams, and we help our clients avoid these scams and recover if they have fallen victim to one.  Contact our firm today at 973-276-0650 or frank@frankkapitza.com for a consultation!


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