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By Jess Bedsole
As tax season revs up, we ask that members are on high-alert for potential scammers seeking personal identity information. Scammers are seeking Social Security numbers in hopes of stealing a tax refund or getting a job with your identity.
During tax season, as well as year-round, remember to never give any personal identity information – such as your Social Security number – over the phone. Imposters can call any phone number and claim to be the IRS, saying that you owe money on taxes and threatening to arrest you if you don’t cooperate.
These scammers will threaten that you must pay with specific payment instructions, for example, by using a prepaid debit card or money transfer. However, if you oblige and send the money they requested, it is gone.
If the IRS does need to contact you because of a tax problem, they will do so by mail initially and will not require a specific type of payment.
If you receive a call from someone who claims to work for the IRS asking you to send money, do not give them any of your information. They may give a badge number and know the last four digits of your Social Security number, but this does not make their request authentic. Write down as many details of the phone call as you can and hang up. Call the IRS directly at 800-829-1040 to alert them of the phone call and then report the call through the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) as well as the FTC.
Warn your friends and family that you’ve been targeted. It can happen to anyone, and sharing this information can save them the inconvenience of a scam. A great way to get the message out is to share this infographic.
To learn more, read the full alert on the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Information blog.