How to save your client from phishing and telephone scams.

Tax scams are one of the biggest problems for IRS because they still continue even after taking so many precautions and giving alerts. Notorious scammers keep coming with new tactics and stealing the hard earned money of taxpayers. Recently IRS warned taxpayers on impersonation scams. Since it is summertime many taxpayers have filed there returns and are probably waiting to hear from IRS. So this tends to be a good time for scammers. As tax professionals, you would like to save your clients from being a bait for scammers. Here are some tips to help your clients avoid tax scams.

1: Spread awareness: You need to make your clients aware of these scams. Communicate with your clients whenever there is a scam alert from IRS. Tell them what kind of scams they are, what their mode is and how we can avoid them. According to IRS-

  • The IRS does not call and leave pre-recorded, urgent messages asking for a callback. In this tactic, the victim is told if they do not call back, a warrant will be issued for their arrest. Other variations may include threats of other law-enforcement agency intervention, deportation or revocation of licenses. So in no case, taxpayers should respond to these messages.
  • The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information. The IRS initiates most contacts through regular mail delivered by the United States Postal Service. However, there are special circumstances in which the IRS will call or come to a home or business, such as when a taxpayer has an overdue tax bill, to secure a delinquent tax return or a delinquent employment tax payment, or to tour a business as part of an audit or during criminal investigations. So taxpayers should never respond to such emails either.

2: Tell your client how to detect scam calls and emails: There are certain clues to find out if it is a scam call. Here are certain clues shared by IRS to find out if it is a scam call:

  • Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. The IRS does not use these methods for tax payments. Generally, the IRS will first mail a bill to any taxpayer who owes taxes. All tax payments should only be made payable to the U.S. Treasury and checks should never be made payable to third parties.
  • Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have the taxpayer arrested for not paying.
  • Demand that taxes be paid without giving the taxpayer the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed.
  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

3: Make a group/community for clients to share the experience- People learn more from real experiences than just by reading something. So you can create a group or community on social media or through a blog, where people can share their experiences and get suggestions from others. This will help to spread awareness and will make your client more vigilant.

These scams can create chaos among taxpayers. Give them confidence that you are always there for help and they can approach you anytime for questions related to scams. Assure them that their data is safe with you. This small help will not only save your client from being a victim of a scam, it will also help to build trust with them.