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(NAPSI)—If you get a call from the “IRS” threatening you with lawsuits or jail unless you pay up immediately, don’t worry. It’s a scam.
IRS impersonation and tax scams by phone, e-mail, snail mail and text are ongoing. Criminals use increasingly creative ploys to trick taxpayers but you can protect yourself and your money.
What To Watch For
First, you should know that the IRS doesn’t initiate contact with taxpayers by e-mail, text message or social media channels to request personal or financial information. This includes requests for PIN numbers, passwords or similar access information for credit cards, banks or other financial accounts.
Here are five more things the scammers often do but the IRS will not do. Any one of these five things is a telltale sign of a scam.
The IRS will never:
• Call to demand immediate payment, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill
• Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount it says you owe
• Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card
• Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone
• Threaten to bring in police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
Where To Get Help
If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS and asking for money, report it to the Federal Trade Commission at www.FTC.gov.
You’ll be a lot less likely to worry that in fact there was an error on your tax return if you get help from a licensed professional tax preparer.
For example, enrolled agents (EAs) are America’s tax experts. They are the only federally licensed tax practitioners who both specialize in taxation and have unlimited rights to represent taxpayers before the Internal Revenue Service. These tax specialists have earned the privilege of representing taxpayers before the IRS by either passing a stringent and comprehensive three-part examination covering individual tax returns, business tax returns, and representation, practice and procedure—or through relevant experience as a former IRS employee. All candidates are subjected to a rigorous background check conducted by the IRS.
Find An Enrolled Agent
To locate an EA nearby, go to the “Find a Tax Expert” directory at www.eatax.org.
On the Net:North American Precis Syndicate, Inc.(NAPSI)