With the summer being so close, one of the last things on our minds would be tax season, since most of us took care of our income tax report a couple of months ago, and don’t plan to start working on next year’s later this year. However, scammers are not known for taking vacation breaks, and they are still active, trying to surprise unsuspecting taxpayers. This is why we must remain alert and be on the lookout for any suspicious email, letter, or phone call we might receive.
One of the scams the IRS is warning taxpayers is what they have called the SSN hustle, a new variation of already known scam practices. This refers to situations on which scammers call taxpayers and tell them their Social Security Number will be suspended, deactivated, or deleted because of a number of reasons. Fraudsters try to catch taxpayers off guard, having them give out personally identifiable information like SSN or bank account numbers.
In some cases, these calls are performed by automated systems that will make taxpayers call a particular number and provide their Social Security Number and other information in order to avoid severe consequences. The message taxpayers may hear will state that their SSN has been “suspended for suspicion of illegal activity”, urging them to get in touch in order to avoid having their assets or benefits frozen or deleted.
According to the IRS, phone call tax scams are a real threat to taxpayers, so you should remember that SSNs do not expire or need to be confirmed or reactivated. Besides, when we have an outstanding tax balance, this wouldn’t affect your SSN. If you happen to receive a phone call that sounds like a scam, remember you can report the number to the IRS on their website.
Another common scam we need to be aware of is one known as the Fax Tax Agency Scam. During the last couple of years, many taxpayers have become more informed regarding phone call tax scams, and now know that the IRS will never demand an immediate payment over the phone. Scammers know this, and they have developed other ways to trick taxpayers into sharing personal and sensitive information.
Now, scammers will first mail or fax a tax bill signed by the “Bureau of Tax Enforcement”, which is a completely fake agency. They will say there is a balanced owed to the IRS, and that immediate payment is required before legal action is taken against the taxpayer. These documents may use the IRS logos and emulate their formats in order to look more convincing. Therefore, you shouldn’t engage or provide any kind of information, and contact the IRS directly instead.