Don’t Fall Prey to This “IRS” Scam!

This post could wind up saving you hundreds—if not thousands—of dollars.

Just a few weeks ago, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued an alert about a new twist on the old IRS impersonation phone scam. This time, the crooks are trying to convince you that they’re calling from the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS).

TAS is an actual, independent organization within the IRS that protects your rights and helps you with tax problems you can’t resolve on your own. They do NOT initiate phone calls to taxpayers. In general, you have to reach out to them first for help.

These calls might be robocalls or automated in some way that requests a call back. Once you call them, they’ll demand personal information like your Social Security number. In some variations, they say you owe an immediate payment by a prepaid debit card, wire transfer, or gift card. Others may tell you that you’re entitled to a large refund, but they can’t release it to you until you provide your personal information.

You should know that sometimes they already know the last four digits of your Social Security number. They might show a phony caller ID that looks like it’s from the IRS. Some even hang up and call back, pretending to be from local law enforcement or the DMV.

So please be aware of these five important points, direct from the IRS:

  • The IRS will never call to demand immediate payment, nor will they call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill.
  • The IRS will never demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
  • The IRS will never require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card, gift card, or wire transfer.
  • The IRS will never ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
  • The IRS will never threaten to bring in local police or other law enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.

If you do get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS or TAS asking for money, the best thing to do is to hang up. You can also report the phone number to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

And if you owe taxes, or if you think you might, you should contact the IRS directly at (800) 829-1040.

You’ve worked hard for your money. Don’t let the crooks take it all with one phone call!

Information presented should not be considered specific tax, legal, or investment advice. You should always seek counsel of the appropriate advisor prior to making any investment decision. All investments are subject to risk including the loss of principal. This material was gathered from sources believed to be reliable, however, its accuracy cannot be guaranteed.

This information is for educational purposes only and no tax payer shall use it for unlawful tax reporting.

No client or prospective client should assume that the presentation (or any component thereof) serves as the receipt of, or a substitute for, personalized advice from LCG or from any other investment professional.

Raymond J. Lucia Jr. is chairman of Lucia Capital Group, a registered investment advisor and CEO of its affiliated broker-dealer, Lucia Securities, LLC, member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services offered through Lucia Capital Group. Securities offered through Lucia Securities, LLC. Registration with the SEC does not imply a certain level of skill or training.

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