Beware of Fake IRS Tax Scams and Bill Notices

There have been increased reports of IRS tax scams.

We want to remind you of some IRS basics, to help prevent you from being affected by these scams.

The IRS will never initiate a first contact for a real IRS matter by phone, text or email. The IRS will only begin a real matter with a taxpayer by sending you a letter, which almost always includes many pages.

If you get an email, phone call or robo-call (automated) which seems like it is from the IRS, you should ignore it. Just hang up the phone.

Do not click on anything in one of these emails. Do not open any attachment to these emails. Never click on a hotlink. Do not reply to them. Just delete the email or ignore it.

The most recent “hot” IRS scam regards phony IRS CP 2000 forms. Real IRS CP 2000 forms are issued when the IRS feels there is matching issue, such as a discrepancy on your return, versus what an employer or investment firm has reported to the IRS. Unlike the fake, real IRS CP 2000 notices provide extensive instructions to taxpayers about what to do if they agree or disagree that additional tax is owed. A real notice requests that checks be made out to “United States Treasury.” To add confusion, the fake IRS notices frequently says the matter involves the Affordable Care Act.

If you are contacted by the IRS by mail, you should always forward that notice to your CPA or tax preparer immediately, to determine if it is authentic and to respond promptly, if necessary. If the notice has your social security number on it, you should mail or fax it; do not ever email any kind of document to anyone with your full social security number on it.

These same general concepts apply to emails, calls or texts you may receive from a bank or financial institution. If you are at all concerned that one of these is not authentic, do not click on any part of the email or reply to it. Call the institution using a phone number that is on one of your regular statements, to determine its validity.

For example, if you get an email from your credit card company requesting your social security number for their “verification records,” you should call the company. Do not provide this information if requested by an email.

Computers, cell phones and the internet have provided many benefits, but they are expanding as a source of scams and vulnerabilities. You should always be alert and careful. If you are ever unsure about some form of contact you receive, you should call the governmental agency or real company yourself, or our firm.

If you ever get a notice from Fidelity, which is our primary custodian, and you are unsure about the notice or if you have questions, please contact our office and we would be pleased to assist you.

We hope this information is helpful to you.

 

 

 

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