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Ways to spot income tax fraud

magnifying glass with fraud in navy text over lined document

It’s tax season. For many people that means a game of hide-and-seek to find necessary documents, but for fraudsters it could mean a big payday. Be on alert for some common income tax scams and how to avoid them. Whether by phone call, letter, e-mail, or even a text message be wary if it’s:

Threatening

The IRS will not call you and demand immediate payment combined with a scare tactic of putting a lien on your house or arresting you. There is a process the IRS takes including multiple points of contact. You’d definitely be aware of an issue before a phone call. A feasible payment in response to an aggressive call is a common practice of scammers.

Wanting you to reply to their message

Scammers don’t want you to check up on them. If you receive a text/e-mail/call/letter with a way to contact them, double check it. Creating a mock website with a similar web address or sending a text with a direct line to the scammers is exactly what they want. Irs.gov or ftc.gov are commonly used websites to verify if you owe funds.

Asking obvious verification

Asking for your account or card number combined with first and last name or Social Security Number should set off warning bells. Finding your address is pretty easy, so don’t be satisfied that information means they are who they say.

Asking for money back

Money being deposited into your account (whether by check or electronic transfer) doesn’t mean it is safe. Money out of the blue or deposited into your account that seems too good to be true, probably is. This tactic is often followed by a request that the money was accidentally deposited into your account and asks for it to be returned in cash, a cashier’s check, or wired back with another financial institution other than yours. This is strategic because your financial institution would ask more questions about the transfer and is sensitive to fraud.

If you’re unsure of someone’s intentions, remember that Numerica is here to help you live well. Call us at 800.433.1837 or visit your favorite branch.

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