Scammers are always looking for a way to steal a person’s personal information year-round; this activity typically increases around tax filing season when taxpayers are at their most vulnerable and using their most sensitive information to file their tax returns. Taxpayers should watch for new versions of tax-related scams, especially ones involving fake property liens. These types of scams threaten taxpayers with a tax bill from a fictional government agency and request a form of payment to be sent to them.
Optima Tax Relief reviews additional details about property lien scams and how taxpayers can recognize that it’s not the IRS attempting to contact them:
- The scheme typically involves a letter threatening an IRS lien or levy.
- The scammer will mail a threatening letter directly to the taxpayer they are targeting.
- The lien or levy is based on fake overdue taxes owed to a non-existent agency.
- Scammers might attempt to use a non-existent agency that sounds legitimate like the “Bureau of Tax Enforcement.”
- The scam may also reference the IRS to confuse potential victims into thinking the letter is from a real agency.
If you don’t owe taxes but received a letter from a non-existent agency claiming that you have a tax balance, you should:
- Contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration to report the letter in question that you received.
- You can scan a document received as a letter or fax and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Report the scam to the Federal Trade Commission using the FTC Complaint Assistant on FTC.gov.
- Report the scam to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.
Taxpayers that do own a balance or think they might owe but received a sketchy letter from an agency claiming to be the IRS should:
- Review your tax account information and payment options on the IRS website. Reviewing your tax account information online will show you if you do owe a balance and how much you owe.
- Contact the IRS at 800-829-1040 to confirm any notice that you received.
Image: Taxpayers via Andrii Yalanskyi/Shutterstock