More tax scams reported as filing deadline nears
March 21, 2017
This year’s tax filing deadline is April 18, 2017, and more consumers are reporting tax-related scams as the deadline approaches.
The most common tax scam reported to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office is the “IRS” imposter phone scam, where con artists call, claim you’re in trouble with the IRS, and tell you to pay to resolve the supposed problem.
The scammers may claim you owe back taxes, have an arrest warrant in your name, or could face legal action if you don’t pay immediately.
Often they’ll ask for payment using gift cards, telling you to buy the cards at a store then read the card numbers over the phone. With this information, they can drain the card’s funds. Once the money is gone, it is nearly impossible to recover.
To avoid scams:
- Don’t trust threatening callers. If you receive an unexpected phone call from someone who threatens to arrest you for not paying taxes, be very skeptical, especially if you never received any written notice.
- Avoid making payments over the phone. Don’t trust someone who demands that you pay immediately over the phone using a gift card or prepaid card, or who demands that you send a wire transfer. These are preferred payment methods for scam artists. The real IRS won’t demand that you pay using one of these specific methods.
- Don’t respond to illegal robocalls. Don’t interact with the caller, and don’t dial the number left on your phone. Responding to a scam call can result in even more calls.
- Don’t rely on caller ID. Scam artists can make it appear that their calls are coming from a local number or from a 202 (Washington D.C.) area code number, even when they are located in another country.
- Check into call-blocking options. Check with your phone carrier and third-party services to determine whether call-blocking services could help you stop unwanted calls.