Even as a bookkeeping firm, we get several calls a week regarding a phone call or letter a client received and whether it is real or not. It’s a scary thing, how good these scammers are getting. We have heard numerous horror stories about how far these people will go to try to get a payment from you.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has posted a new article warning you about scammers targeting students during this first quarter of the new school year. To read the full article, please click here. Here are a few of the ways the IRS has seen scammers try to trick you:

  • Changing the information on the Caller ID so it seems like a government agency, even the police might be calling you
  • Imitating software providers
  • Demanding fake tax payments using iTunes gift cards
  • Soliciting W-2 information from payroll and HR departments
  • “Verifying” tax return information over the phone
  • Pretending to be from the industry

The IRS also confirms that these are the practices they will never do:

  • Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as wire transfer, gift card, etc.
  • Threaten to immediately bring in local police to have you arrested for not paying
  • Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount
  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone

We have told people for many years that the IRS will always mail you correspondence first. Just this week, however, we had a client bring in a letter that seemed just a little bit off to him. Sure enough, the letter was fraudulent. We immediately saw how different the letter looked from a normal IRS letter. But to the untrained eye, it has the IRS logo, PO Box information and used industry terminology. These guys are getting good. Scary good.

If you are ever in doubt about a letter received, please do not hesitate to call us. Please remember that the elderly and those under 18 are at higher risk to receive these attempts. There also is a phone number for the IRS to discuss your account, 800-829-1040.