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What's New!  SMB's Monthly Column....

The timely re-birth of SMB’s monthly column, tackles an issue that just won't go away and in contrast, continues to grow even more implausible tentacles, keeping authorities busy spreading awareness about these menaces. IRS impersonators prey on fear and ignorance, swindling millions of dollars from victims, using fraudulent schemes, ranging from demands of gift card payments to threats of immediate arrest.

TIGTA, the office of the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, recently released a scam update, citing that IRS impersonators are demanding payments for alleged outstanding tax debts not only with iTunes cards and other reloadable or prepaid credit cards, but now with Google Play gift cards.  Nuts! It seems unfathomable that criminals actually succeed with a scheme based on such a premise! Sadly, these tactics work for a number of reasons:

  • High pressure, aggressive and persistent phone calls are intimidating.
  • One’s reactive, emotional state about an IRS matter (or threat) heightens fear and anxiety and impairs sound, cognitive thinking.
  • Senior citizens are common targets.
  • Scammers use phone technology called “spoofing” to make their number appear as an IRS phone number, hence, legitimizing the communication.

Though these schemes are ever-changing, our advice remains consistent:

  • Don’t answer a call from an “unknown number”.
  • Hang up if you were “spoofed” and tricked into answering one of these calls.
  • Don’t give your name or ANY information if you find yourself on a call with a suspected scammer.
  • If anyone calls you out of the blue and demands money, just hang up.
  • Government agents NEVER call demanding information or payment.
  • Call our office immediately if you need advice about a suspicious IRS phone call.

Be prepared. Tax filing season is a popular time for these calls. Please contact us  if you want to discuss this information or other ways you can protect your tax identity.

Lisa P. Buff, CPA, CDFA

Lisa P. Buff, CPA, CDFA  
Partner, SMB