Have You Fallen Victim to an IRS Scam?
It happens almost every day in Fort Lauderdale. You may get a phone call from a person claiming to be an IRS agent. In many cases, these so-called agents will tell people they owe money to the government. Some have even threatened to have people arrested if they do not pay their back taxes. First, relax and take a deep breath. Nobody is going to have you arrested. If you receive a phone call from a person claiming to work for the IRS, it is practically a guarantee that person does not work for the government. IRS scams are constantly happening throughout South Florida. Many of them are targeted towards the elderly or recent immigrants. So how can you tell whether you are a victim of a scam? Here are some important red flags.
- IRS agents will not call your house: If you owe back taxes in Fort Lauderdale, the IRS will not notify you by phone. Instead, you will receive a letter of notification that will carefully explain your situation and contain a list of specific instructions on how to proceed. Make sure the letter has an official IRS seal.
- Do not give out your financial information: Many people receive texts and social media posts from people claiming to be from the IRS. The government will never contact you through a social media site or by text message. These scam artists often ask questions about your social security number or your bank account information. It is one of the most common practices of scammers to steal your identity.
- The IRS will not ask for an immediate payment: IRS scam artists often try to intimidate people by demanding an immediate payment for a person’s alleged tax debt. If you do owe back taxes, nobody is going to have you arrested right away. The IRS will simply send a bill, listing your tax debt. Should you owe money, the IRS can provide reasonable payment plans to gradually eliminate your debt.
- The IRS will never ask to make a payment in a certain way: Some scam artists will ask potential victims to use a prepaid debit card to pay off their tax debt.
If you receive a call from a person that claims to be an IRS agent, always ask them for an employee badge number and call back number. In most cases, that person will probably hang up the phone.
Fair or unfair, the IRS has a reputation of being ruthless. It is a reputation that is greatly exaggerated. It is important to understand the government is not interested in putting anyone in financial ruin. It just simply wants the money you owe. Before you start believing a bunch of men in dark suits are going to show up at your house and demand your back taxes, think again. If you have received a call or notified anyone you believe to be a scam artist, notify the authorities immediately. The IRS recommends to contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.