Will You Recognize Fraud When The IRS Comes Calling?
The word “scam” has become a part of everyday language in recent years. Between identity theft, hackers, and criminals posing as IRS agents, the financial cost is great. Although many target the elderly and most vulnerable, today’s scammers realize it’s a numbers game so they’re preying upon anyone. Will you recognize fraud if you’re targeted?
Speaking of The IRS
In case you haven’t heard, scams involving false representation of the Internal Revenue Service are becoming quite common. This is because the IRS has become more vigilant in recent years and so they are easier to impersonate. TLK Fusion Marketing says it’s up to business people and the public to educate themselves on what to look for so you don’t fall victim.
Why is the IRS getting more aggressive? Well, all of the attempts to defraud the government have made them take notice, and they realize how much money is being lost to tax delinquency so they’re doing something about it. Criminals are also taking notice. Believing people will trust that the calls are authentic, they are using this IRS outreach as an opportunity to defraud taxpayers.
Will You Know the Difference When You Get a Call?
We’re saying when and not if because this popular scam is large scale and international, and chances are you’ll be targeted. In fact, TLK Fusion Marketing recently posted a blog article with a report about 22 people who were indicted recently. Even though the Justice Department is onto this scam, calls are still being made!
Almost everyone knows of someone who’s had IRS notices stuffed in their mailboxes, or had calls from the IRS. Delinquent tax bills, liens, levies or worse are now being red flagged by the IRS. They’re working hard to collect what’s owed the government and are sending letters, making phone calls and emailing delinquent taxpayers to take action.
They might warn against fees and fines, but the IRS isn’t threatening arrest for fraud. These calls are being made by scammers.
Criminals have jumped on the bandwagon and are using tactics to commit crimes against taxpayers. Their weapon is FEAR. No one is exempt. They are attacking victims from both the business and private sectors, accusing them of committing tax fraud against the government.
“It’s not unusual to pick up the phone and have someone claiming to be from the IRS accuse you of tax fraud and warn arrest if heavy fines aren’t paid,” says Ken Collis, Founder and CEO of TLK Fusion Marketing. “Your first line of defense against these perpetrators is awareness.”
This sort of scam is nothing new. The criminals are just taking advantage of the opportunity to defraud victims at a time that people are most vulnerable. Because the IRS is dealing with delinquency issues more frequently, the public is more apt to believe these calls are founded in truth.
Ken Collis adds, “No one wants to be in trouble with the IRS. When the person on the other end of a call threatens arrest or heavy fines unless swift action is taken to pay, people often do whatever they can to get off the IRS’ radar. Billions of dollars are extorted.”
TLK Fusion Marketing works with small businesses and brands and is taking steps to be sure their clients are aware of these scams. They are advising people to avoid being victimized by checking with their CPAs and tax advisors before forking over thousands of dollars to scammers.
How about you? Will you know if you’re being targeted as a victim? Are YOU aware of the difference between an authentic caller and a fraudulent schemer? If you’re not sure you might be relieved to know the IRS would never make a threatening call such as those being made recently.
So, relax. But also report any communication from someone posing to be from the IRS.
It’s likely your tax advisor is prepared to answer your questions about anything and everything having to do with IRS dealings. You no longer have to avoid these issues. There are training programs that help tax pros to recognize notices or codes and when issues that reek of fraud pop up, they are learning how to quickly identify them and rectify the situation.
Whose Responsibility is It?
The IRS and Justice Department are working hard to reveal scammers and make the public aware so they can protect themselves. It’s also the responsibility of individual taxpayers and business owners to educate themselves.
Ken Collis has these suggestions:
- Never allow yourself to be intimidated by pushy telephone sales people or those claiming to be the IRS, Police, Sheriffs, etc.
- Never send money or give credit card or bank information to anyone who calls over the phone and requests or demands it. Always follow up to verify.
- If you get a call or message where the caller asks you to dial two digits and the * or # key (such as *79 or 72#), and then another phone number, hang up.
If you have been taken by a scam, don’t get down on yourself. You aren’t the only one, and these criminals can be very convincing. Just remember the IRS, the police or any government institution will never belittle you or try to manipulate with fear.
Always verify, and never give information unless you know the person or company you’re talking with has been authenticated.