When I got home the other night I played back the messages on my machine and one of the messages was from a number I did not recognize. The voice was very firm and said the Internal Revenue Service was getting ready to file a lawsuit against me and would garnish my wages and seize my bank accounts unless I immediately contacted them. The message went on to say that this was an urgent matter and time was of the essence. After thinking about the message for about two seconds, I did what I hope you would do if you received a similar call, I erased it.
There has been a rash of tax scams throughout our area. Some come in the form of the type of call I got where they don’t actually say they are with the IRS, but they make it clear that the only way to stop action is to deal with the caller. Another type of tax scam that is very prevalent here in southeast Michigan, is where someone contacts you, whether via a telephone call or email, telling you they are the Internal Revenue Service and you must contact them immediately. In fact, when these lowlifes contact you, it is not uncommon for the caller id to show up as IRS and the emails look official and they even copy the Internal Revenue’s official site.
If you want to fool Americans, one of the best ways of doing it is to involve taxes. Whether it is phony investment scams claiming incredible deductions or companies claiming that they can resolve difficulties you have with the IRS, the bottom line, you have to be smart when it comes to taxes. Never forget that when it comes to taxes, you are the one who is ultimately responsible. When you sign your return you accept responsibility. If you claim a deduction you’re not entitled to or fail to report taxable income, not only can your taxes and interest be assessed, but in addition, penalties. That is why when it comes to taxes you can’t take advice from anyone; rather, you have to use the services of a professional. Taxes are complex and violations of our tax laws can be very expensive.
As I’ve mentioned in the past, it is important to recognize that the Internal Revenue Service does not initially contact someone by phone or by email. Even if the caller ID says Internal Revenue Service, it is not. It’s just a scam. I know when you receive these calls you generally know they are fake, but you say to yourself, what if it is legitimate. I assure you they are not legitimate and I urge you not to return the call or answer any correspondence. These people are very good at what they do and you don’t want to open the door to them no matter what.
The number of people being targeted by these tax scams continues to grow at epidemic levels. These people are out to either steal your hard-earned cash or your sensitive information. Either way, it can cost you money and aggravation. Therefore, when it comes to taxes, only deal with a true professional. And remember, any unsolicited emails or phone calls, whether from the IRS or not, need to be immediately put into the trash and forgotten about.