It’s that time of year when everyone wants your money — especially criminals. Yes, tax season is once again in full swing, and the deadline is fast approaching.
It’s not just the same ol’ tricks anymore, either.
[Each year, the IRS puts together a list of the “dirty dozen,” or the most popular scams to look out for each year. Take a look at the video, and learn more at their website.]
Those crooks are getting even more clever, and now the IRS has a warning about a new twist you need to be on the lookout for. We’ll tell you about the new spin on the old scam, and give you the tips you need to know to keep your money safe.
Dirty tax scams and phishing
We’ve told you about variations of those fake IRS calls, where callers try to trick you into giving up your info. They’ll pretend to be an IRS employee, even some type of federal agent or law enforcement officer and will demand you pay non-existent overdue taxes immediately using wire transfer, prepaid debit card or gift cards. Right, the government wants to be paid in gift cards. And if you don’t pay up, scammers say they’ll come to your house and arrest you.
On the flip side, someone pretending to be from the IRS will call you and sound like your best friend. They’ll say you’re entitled to a big refund, you just have to hand over some of your personal info first.
Now there’s a new spin. Impersonators are calling, saying they’re from the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS), which is an independent organization within the IRS. They’ll even spoof the number from TAS offices in Houston and Brooklyn. It could be a person or a robocall asking for a callback, but either way, those scammers will also be asking for your personal info, which includes your Social Security number of individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN).
Here’s the thing — the real TAS exists to help you resolve an IRS-related problem. But you call them, not the other way around.