There’s a new scam going around we want you to be aware of. If you receive a call from some­one who says they are from the IRS, and you need to pay a tax bill with a cred­it card imme­di­ate­ly or go to jail, it’s a scam! It may sound obvi­ous to you, but unfor­tu­nate­ly, thou­sands of peo­ple have lost mil­lions of dol­lars and their per­son­al infor­ma­tion to tax scams.

As always, don’t give any per­son­al infor­ma­tion on the phone. Be aware that calls of this nature are not legit­i­mate, no mat­ter how offi­cial they sound. The IRS will nev­er call you about tax­es due; they send offi­cial notices only by U.S. mail. Addi­tion­al­ly, they will nev­er threat­en you with law enforce­ment or demand pay­ment with­out the oppor­tu­ni­ty to ask ques­tions or appeal the amount owed.

And now, not only are the “bad actors” imper­son­at­ing the IRS, as part of their sophis­ti­cat­ed scams, they are even able to deposit some­thing that looks like a refund to your bank account, then call to demand its return. Here are some steps you can take to stay alert to fraud of this type:

  1. If you get a call pur­port­ing to be from the IRS – or bank, cred­it card com­pa­ny, etc. – hang up. If you think the call might be legit­i­mate (such as your bank ask­ing about a sus­pi­cious or espe­cial­ly large trans­ac­tion), call back imme­di­ate­ly at the main num­ber for the bank or oth­er institution’s web­site. Again, don’t answer any ques­tions, or give out or con­firm any per­son­al infor­ma­tion to an unso­licit­ed caller.
  2. Check your bank accounts dai­ly. You’re more like­ly to notice a prob­lem if you keep tabs reg­u­lar­ly. And be sure to watch for small trans­ac­tions of a dol­lar, or just a few cents—these may indi­cate a bad actor is test­ing your account to see if it’s vul­ner­a­ble.
  3. Set up alerts for account activ­i­ty. Many finan­cial insti­tu­tions let you set up an alert (usu­al­ly a text mes­sage or email) when your card is used. This can help you become aware of unusu­al activ­i­ty quick­ly.
  4. Look into iden­ti­ty pro­tec­tion. Iden­ti­ty theft pro­tec­tion goes beyond fraud alerts and cred­it freezes to detect addi­tion­al forms of iden­ti­ty fraud with exist­ing accounts, or crim­i­nal, med­ical, or Social Secu­ri­ty mis­use.

Con­tent pro­vid­ed by: Stravo­lo Wealth Man­age­ment

March 2018