It's tax time here in the US, and like clockwork, that means the scams are cropping up. There's a particularly heinous one making the rounds right now that I want to spread the warning about.


This scam starts with a phone call. The call shows up on your caller ID as being from the IRS, but the bad guys are faking this, and they also identify you by the last four digits of your Social Security number. That's what gives this scam its punch. The combination of seeming to be from the IRS and having your SSN makes it seem legitimate. Making the deception more effective, they often identify themselves as being an agent of the IRS using a common last name, such as Jones, Smith, etc, and will give a fake IRS badge number.


Once they've got your attention like this, they tell you that owe you taxes and that you need to pay up immediately. Sometimes they go so far as to say the police are on their way to arrest you and THEY'RE ALMOST TO YOUR HOUSE PAY UP NOW OR GO TO JAIL!!! They then ask for payment in the form of a wire transfer or prepaid debit card, neither of which can be used for a chargeback, so once they have your money, it's gone.


The IRS will not contact you by phone for stuff like this. If you owe taxes, you will receive a notice in the mail, not a phone call, nor will they send you an email. I've personally had to make payments to the IRS, and not once did I ever talk to a real person. It was all automated. Don't fall for this.


Here's the IRS's website for more information about these scams. Protect yourself, and protect those you care for.