With hurricane season running through November 30, taxpayers should remember that criminals and scammers often try to take advantage of generous taxpayers who want to help disaster victims. Everyone should be vigilant, because scams often pop up after a hurricane.
These disaster scams normally start with unsolicited contact in several ways. The scammer contacts their possible victim by telephone, social media, email or in-person. Scammers also use a variety of tactics to lure information out of people.
Here are some things for people to know so they can recognize a scam and avoid becoming a victim:
- Some thieves pretend they are from a charity. They do this to get money or private information from well-intentioned taxpayers.
- Bogus websites use names that are similar to legitimate charities. They do this scam to trick people to send money or provide personal financial information.
- Scammers even claim to be working for ― or on behalf of ― the IRS. The thieves say they can help victims file casualty loss claims and get tax refunds.
- Disaster victims can call the IRS toll-free disaster assistance telephone number at 866-562-5227. Phone assistors will answer questions about tax relief or disaster-related tax issues.
- Taxpayers who want to make donations can get information to help them on IRS.gov. The Tax Exempt Organization Search helps users find or verify qualified charities. Donations to these charities may be tax-deductible.
- Taxpayers should always contribute by check or credit card to have a record of the tax-deductible donation.
- Donors should not give out personal financial information to anyone who solicits a contribution. This includes things like Social Security numbers or credit card and bank account numbers and passwords.
For more information on how to protect your assets, please contact Kevin Sayed at 252-321-2020.
While many people take summer vacations, data thieves do not. Phishing emails and telephone scams continue to pop up around the country. The IRS reminds everyone to be vigilant to avoid becoming a victim.
Here are some things for taxpayers to remember so they can keep their personal data safe:
- The IRS does not leave pre-recorded, urgent messages asking for a call back. In one scam, the victim is told if they do not call back, a warrant will be issued for their arrest. Other variations may include the threat of other law-enforcement agency intervention, deportation or revocation of licenses. The IRS will never threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have the taxpayer arrested for not paying.
- Criminals can fake or “spoof” caller ID to appear to be anywhere in the country, including from an IRS office. This prevents taxpayers from being able to verify the true call number. If a taxpayer gets a call from the IRS, they should hang up and call the agency back at a publicly-available phone number.
- If a taxpayer receives an unsolicited email that appears to be from the IRS, they should report it by sending it to email@example.com. Some people might also receive an email from a program closely linked to the IRS, such as the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System. Recipients should also send these emails to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information. The IRS initiates most contacts through regular mail delivered by the United States Postal Service.
There are special circumstances when the IRS will call or come to a home or business. This includes situations when a taxpayer has an overdue tax bill or when the IRS needs to secure a delinquent tax return or a delinquent employment tax payment.
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