Tax scams are on the rise and small businesses are just as vulnerable as consumers. Authorities report that there have been a rise in calls across the country from scammers claiming to be affiliated with the Internal Revenue Service. In case you are not aware of how the tax scam works, criminals use fear and intimidation practices to coerce victims into sending them money. They basically call victims and leave a threatening voicemail message stating you have a warrant out for your arrest because of a tax violation.
Here is what you need to know to protect yourself and your business from falling prey to this scam.
Get armed with the facts. Remember that these types of scams work on fear and the victims lack of information. Verifying facts is the greatest weapon against these criminals.
Don’t be fooled by professionalism. The scammers sound professional, going as far as to provide phony IRS badge numbers and altering the caller ID numbers to appear as if the calls are coming in from an agency. They also have personal information on their victims to make the scam sound more legitimate.
These tax scams have cost around 4,550 victims more than $23 million since October 2013. And these are just the ones who report it, many victims of scams are afraid to report the crime, which means the loss is likely much higher.
The IRS has released the following facts regarding how the agency contacts individuals.
1. The IRS does not call and demand immediate payment. The agency only calls after first sending you a bill in the mail.
2. The IRS does not demand you pay taxes without letting you question or appeal the amount you owe.
3. The IRS does not require you pay in a specified way, such as a prepaid debit card.
4. The IRS does not ask for your credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
5. The IRS does not threaten arrest for not paying.
If you receive calls for these types of tax scams, hang up and report it to your local law enforcement agency immediately. You can visit “Tax Scams and Consumer Alerts” on IRS.gov to get additional information.
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