Know the Sneakiest IRS Scams

Scammers can seem innocent at first, playing on your emotions to get you to talk before they sucker you into giving up your personal information and money. Some pretend to be long-lost relatives, while others call about pretend problems with your internet connection or operating software. Some of the most common scams involve people pretending to be from the Internal Revenue Service, threatening arrest if you don’t comply with their requests. Here is how they work—and how not to become their next victim.

Key Takeaways

  • Thousands of people fall prey to IRS scams each year, losing millions of dollars in the process.
  • IRS scammers try to scare people into providing sensitive information or money, sometimes threatening arrest, deportation, or other harm.
  • While phone scams are most common, scammers also use email, text messages, postal mail, and other means.
  • If you think you may have been contacted by a scammer, report the suspicious call or correspondence to the IRS.

How IRS Tax Scams Work

Authorities say thousands of people—from everyday citizens to sophisticated professionals—fall prey to IRS and other imposter scams each year, losing millions of dollars in the process. According to a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) report, imposter scams cost Americans some $667 million in 2019—and those were just the cases reported to authorities. Many victims never file reports, often out of embarrassment.

Imposter scams aren’t the only way criminals can steal…

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