These days, it can be difficult to spot what is official from what is phony. With new scams and schemes coming out every day, we have to do our best to take every precaution before handing out personal and financial information. While many of these scams seem very real, there are some tell-tale signs and rules to follow to help you steer clear of them. Let’s take a deeper look at what phony IRS communication looks like.
How Does the IRS Officially Contact You?
The IRS will only contact you in one very specific way: through the US Postal Service. In extreme circumstances (such as an overdue tax bill, delinquent tax payment, or audit), the IRS may visit a home or business or call the phone number provided on your tax documents.
What the IRS Will Not Do
The IRS will not demand a specific payment method, credit card, or wire transfer. They will never ask for payment over the phone and will request that you pay owed taxes through mail check to the U.S. Treasury or pay online at IRS.gov/payments. The IRS does not demand immediate payment and taxpayers always have the option to question or appeal their debt. The IRS will never threaten to bring in law enforcement officers to arrest you in the case of non-payment. They will not revoke any licenses or immigration statuses. They will never contact you via email, social media, or text message.
Spot a Phony
If you experience any of the above situations, you are likely dealing with a scam. Do not give out credit card information, social security numbers, or any other personal information over the phone to someone claiming to be from the IRS. Do not fall for scare tactics as these are used only by scammers and not by the IRS. Seek out further assistance by calling the IRS directly if you are unsure of certain communication.
The best way to stay protected is to stay wary. Do not accept just any correspondence from someone claiming to be from the IRS. Pay your bills officially online or send checks straight to the Treasury, never over the phone.