Tax season provides the ideal opportunity for scam artists to prey on unsuspecting tax payers. These scams come in many forms, the most frequent of which are described below.

The most commonly reported tax scam in the Vanderburgh County area involves potential victims receiving phone calls and recorded messages from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The fake IRS agent states this is the “final attempt” to contact the victim regarding a pending lawsuit against them. Potential victims are given a fraudulent number to contact the IRS, where presumably the victim will be asked to wire money or provide a pre-paid debit card number to settle back taxes. These con artists range from amateurish to highly sophisticated. Many posses basic background information concerning their victims and have the ability to “spoof” caller ID’s to make it appear a call is coming from the IRS.

Sheriff Dave Wedding stated, “If you have any doubt about the identity of an official who calls you on the phone, get the official’s name, hang up, and then call the agency back at a phone number you know to be correct.”

As anyone with an email account undoubtedly knows, the internet is a never ending source for fraudulent solicitations. Fake emails from the IRS (which often include a link to a fraudulent IRS web site) will direct the victim to “update your IRS e-file immediately.” The emails often look realistic and contain “gov” designations within the email in order to bolster credibility.

On their official website, the IRS reminds taxpayers that the agency will never:

  • Call to demand immediate payment, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill.
  • Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
  • Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.4) Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
  • Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying. 

Report IRS impersonation to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGA) by clicking here.