How to Identify an IRS Scam

IRS scams are fairly common nowadays. Thousands, if not millions, of people have lost money in these scams. What’s worse, they keep happening. As there will never be a lack of criminals trying to trick you and take your money, you need to protect yourself.

The best way to do that is to learn how to identify an IRS scam. That’s exactly what we are here to teach you about today. By the end of this piece, you’ll know precisely how to distinguish a scam from the real thing. Let’s take a look:

What You Need to Know About the Way the IRS Contacts People

The best way to identify a scam is to learn how the IRS contacts people. They never reach out by email, social media, or text messages to ask you for your personal and financial information. They always reach out via regular mail delivered by the United States Postal Service.

Only a handful of special circumstances exist when the IRS calls you at your home or place of business:

  • When you have an overdue tax bill
  • When they need to secure a delinquent tax return or employment tax payment
  • When they need to audit a business or during a criminal investigation

However, even in those cases, the person in question will always receive letters, known as notices, first via mail. Only afterward will you be contacted in some other way.

In translation, the IRS will never initiate contact in any other way than by written mail delivered by the US Postal Service. But how do you know that the IRS letter is real?

  • It will always arrive in a government envelope with the IRS seal on it
  • It will always include a letter number or notice at the top right-hand corner
  • It will always include your truncated tax ID number as well as the tax years the letter is about in the top right-hand corner
  • It will always include IRS contact information
  • If the letter asks you to pay for something, the instruction will always state to write a check to the U.S. Treasury, and no one or nothing else

If you are contacted by someone claiming to work for the IRS in any other way other than this, you can be certain that it is part of a scam, and you should immediately report them. You can always call the IRS directly at 800-829-1040 if you are a regular taxpayer, and at 800-829-4933 if you represent a business.

What Are the Most Common IRS Scams?

 SSN scam where criminals claim they can suspend or cancel your social security number.

  • Telephone scam – the IRS doesn’t call you unless previously informing you that they will contact you via mail
  • Email scam – IRS does not send unsolicited emails (be especially wary of emails that include tax transcripts)
  • Natural disaster scams

There are many other types of scams, but most involve emails and phone calls, and as we’ve said, the IRS will never initiate contact in that way.

Key Takeaway

As you can see, it is relatively easy to distinguish the real thing from a scam. All you have to do is be careful. And if you have any follow-up questions, feel free to contact Golden Tax Relief.

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