Posted by BRIAN PRZYSTUP & ASSOCIATES LLC

What You Need To Know About Fake IRS Letters

What You Need To Know About Fake IRS Letters

It is again time for the IRS to send out notices and bills to taxpayers and also reporting on cryptocurrency and healthcare which are focused on correspondence. Scammers are taking advantage of the fact that taxpayers are having a hard time distinguishing the real thing from fakes. Below are the things that you need to know.

Almost all taxpayers already know that the IRS would never ask for payment immediately without sending them a bill. Scammers then trick taxpayers by sending them letters, hoping that they would be convinced that it really is from the IRS.

For instance, they used a nonexistent agency called the “Bureau of Tax Enforcement” to send letters to threaten a taxpayer based on bogus delinquent taxes owed. Sometimes, to make you think that the letter is legitimate, the letter will use the IRS name itself. Earlier this summer, the IRS warned taxpayers about this trick. 

Since then, the fake IRS letter is being reported by the taxpayers. In some variations of a letter, because of unpaid tax obligations, they are told that a warrant has been issued to a taxpayer. The letter goes on if the taxpayer doesn’t pay immediately, they will be warned that the warrant could result in arrest or other criminal action. 

In other cases, facts about real tax debts are included in fake IRS letters. It sounds scary, right? Keep in mind that liens filed against taxpayers may be available to the public. And don’t be frightened because even if they know one or two facts about you, it doesn’t mean you have to give up cash or personal information. 

When replying to correspondence, always take extra caution. To spot a legit IRS letter from a fake one, there are some helpful ways to do so. The following are some tips:

  • Inside a government envelope, with the IRS seal on the letter or notice is what a proper IRS letter looks. 
  • Most commonly at the top right-hand corner is where a notice or letter-number will be found and that’s what a legitimate letter will include. It’s likely a fake letter if you receive without one. 
  • Your truncated tax ID number will be included at the top right-hand corner of the letter together with a note of how many tax year or years in question -- is what a real IRS letter will include. 
  • The IRS contact information will be usually a 1.800 included near your identifying information at the top of the letter. The letter is likely a fake if there’s no contact information or the number provided looks like a personal or cell number. You can always call the IRS directly at 1.800.829.1040 if there is contact information but you are hesitant if it is legitimate or not. 
  • Threatening to arrest or deport you will never be done by the IRS. You will be given additional information about your rights as a taxpayer or an explanation of your appeal is what a real letter from the IRS includes. 
  • Noting your payment options and noting how to pay your balance due is what you can see in a legitimate collection letter. It is a fake if the letter asks you to provide credit or debit card information over the phone, to pay using iTunes or other gift cards, or to write a check to any party other than the U.S. Treasury. 

Don’t forget about the phone scam among all the tax scams coming from all directions this season. Phone scams are considered a major threat to taxpayers according to the IRS. In the 2019 “Dirty Dozen” list, phishing and phone scams topped. Below are the things that you should do instead of engaging or responding to scammers:

  •  Better hang up if you receive a call from someone who is claiming to be from the IRS and you know the fact that you don’t owe a tax. 
  • Don’t think of calling back if you receive a telephone message or robocall from someone who is claiming to be from the IRS and you know the fact that you don’t owe a tax. 
  • Better call the IRS at 180.829.1040 to find out more information if you owe a tax or think you may owe tax and you receive a phone call from someone claiming to be with the IRS. 
  • Don’t click on hyperlinks if you are not sure about the authenticity of an email or you received it from an unknown or suspicious source. Going directly to the source’s main web page is the best thing to do. 
  • For each online account that you have, use a strong and unique password. Since crooks may know some of your personal details, better not to hesitate to lie about some important details on websites.
  •  As much as possible, use two or multi-factor authentication. This is when you will enter a security code sent to your phone or other devices after entering your username and password. 

In times that you are in doubt, assume it is a scam. By remaining alert, always keep your personal information safe. 

BRIAN PRZYSTUP & ASSOCIATES LLC
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