LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) Tax season is here, and scammers are posing as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in the U.S.
Scammers are tricking consumers into paying money or sharing their personal or financial information.
Tax impostors often go to great lengths to appear real. The scammer may give you a fake badge number and name or in some instances, these tax scams start with a serious and official sounding “robocall” recording.
Chris Babin, with the Better Business Bureau of Acadiana, said, “These scams originate with some type of phone call with somebody personating the IRS using pressure tactics. They need the information that they’re requesting from you right away. This is either your last warning before there’s a warrant issued for your arrest or this is your only chance to claim the refund that you’re entitled to.”
Those pressure tactics, Babin said, are something to be on the lookout for.
In the first version of tax scams, the caller poses as an IRS “agent” saying you owe back taxes and pressures you into paying by prepaid debit card or wire transfer. The scammer also threatens you with arrest and fines.
“They sound very professional,” explained Babin. “A lot of times they spoof the numbers to be from the Washington D.C. area to further convince you that they’re with the IRS. They impersonate an IRS employee.”Scammers claim they are issuing tax refunds and ask you for personal information which can then be used for identity theft.
“There could be a scammer that filed a tax return on your behalf in order to claim your refund and the only way that you find out about that is when you actually send in your tax return and get notified by the IRS that it’s a duplicate return,” added Babin.
Here’s are some ways from the Better Business Bureau on how to spot tax scams:
- You are pressured to act quickly. The IRS will give you the chance to ask questions or appeal what you owe.
- Payment must be made by wire transfer, prepaid debit card, or other non-traditional payment methods. Those methods are untraceable.
- The IRS will never demand immediate payment, require a specific form of payment, or ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.