Recently, a caller who identified himself as a representative of our power company insisted that we were behind in our payments and our power was going to be cut off that afternoon. He was so convincing that several people became involved before we confirmed it was a scam. Fortunately no money changed hands, but it’s crazy to think how often this happens and how disconcerting it can be.
Tax filing deadlines bring another opportunity for criminals to take advantage of unsuspecting citizens. In fact, this is such a large and recurring problem that the IRS publishes a list of the 12 worst tax scams of the year known as the “Dirty Dozen“. If you are contacted by someone claiming to be from the IRS, here are a few easy things you can do to determine if it is legitimate or not.
- The IRS will almost always initiate contact through regular mail and does not initiate contact by email, text message, or social media to request personal or financial information.
- The IRS will never call to demand immediate payment.
- The IRS will not demand that you pay taxes without the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed.
- The IRS will not threaten to bring in law enforcement.
- The IRS does not have the authority to revoke your driver’s license, business license, or immigration status.
- Payments to the IRS will be made payable to the “United States Treasury” or on their website www.irs.gov/payments.
- If you are visited by someone claiming to work for the IRS, ask to see their credentials. They should provide a pocket commission and a HSPD-12 card. You have a legal right as a taxpayer to see these.
If you are suspicious that someone may be attempting to scam you, you should report this activity to the IRS. You can also stay updated on the most recent scams targeting taxpayers on the IRS website. Whether it’s an old or new scheme, being aware of the warning signs and what to look out for will help protect you from falling victim to a tax scam.
Curtis Bull, Vice President of Commercial Lines
Choosing the right insurance agent is one of the most important decisions you will make. The Turner Agency Inc. has covered the insurance needs of the Upstate of South Carolina and beyond since 1962. Our team provides choice in coverage options from a carefully selected group of financially sound, reputable insurance companies; ease of doing business; and unparalleled advocacy on your behalf. As your needs change, we’ll be with you every step of the way. Contact us if we can help you.