We have finally made it to 2018 after a bit of a roller-coaster ride through 2017. The last year ended with pretty big tax news, and its ramifications are bound to come up many times throughout the current year. First, however, we must still file tax returns for 2017 and this will come with a new spate of scams run by people trying to take advantage of how frightening taxes can seem.
If it seems that I write about such things often, it is because I do. As long as scammers keep trying to find ways to take your money, we must remain vigilant and stay on top of their tactics. So to that end, here is a list of five new things to watch out for.
1 – Fake phone numbers
One of the best tactics for tax scammers is to do everything they can to make it appear as if their communications are actually coming from the IRS. One way they have been doing is by setting up spoof numbers with a caller ID that is a Washington D.C. number and some that even come up on caller iD with a label such as “IRS-important.”
This is the time to remember that the actual IRS will never make first contact with you over the phone. You will receive a mailed notice, and likely multiple ones, before ever actually speaking to someone from the agency. And if you question if who you are talking to is actually from the IRS, it is okay to end your current conversation, and check its veracity.
2 – Voicemail Messages
Since many are learning that it is okay to just ignore people who call out of nowhere and say they are from the IRS, scammers are trying to bypass that by finding ways to leave voicemails without your phone ever ringing. It can feel more frightening if you get their whole spiel left in that manner, but again, this will never be the first way that you hear from the IRS.
3 – Revoking your degree
Scammers also do what they can to try to hit people where it hurts. To that end, there are scams that come with a threat saying if you do not pay their fictional bill, then they will revoke your Bachelor’s Degree. When looking at this from afar, we can logically see how this brand of punishment makes no sense, but if in the midst of an already frightening situation, you can appreciate how this could also be rather disconcerting. But again, the IRS does not use this tactic.
4 – Social Media
Just as how the IRS will always contact you by mail before calling you, their first method of contact will not be through your social media. In this world, this is often a great way to get someone’s attention, and scammers know this.
5 – Specific methods of payment
Finally, many scams come with demands of types of payment that should give you pause. This can be prepaid debit cards or even things like iTunes gift cards. This is another one of those situations where from afar you see how it should feel off to pay a legitimate bill through such means. If someone starts to threaten you, though, you might do whatever it takes to make it stop.
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