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