Whether you are a business owner working hard to adapt to the current economic climate or an individual waiting for your stimulus payment, we are all vulnerable to scams.
Sadly, many scammers out there see the pandemic and the tax relief and see an opportunity to profit. The IRS has seen scams increase exponentially and have released information to help protect against these criminal activities.
What Are Scammers After?
One of the main scams that is circulating right now is directly related to the COVID-19 stimulus checks. Scammers know that many Americans both are urgently seeking these checks and are not completely sure how the distribution system works. This creates a perfect storm for schemers.
The goal of these schemers is to get not only your IRS payment, but as much as your personal information as possible, including your bank account and social security number. This allows them to commit identity fraud and worst of all to make off with your much needed money.
What Methods Are Scammers Using?
As technology advances, so does the ability of scammers to manipulate folks. Phone calls are usually the most common avenue for scammers to reach you. Scammers will call you posing as an employee of the IRS.
One of the most common calls going around amid the pandemic involves asking you to confirm your personal information so that you can receive a stimulus check. They will claim that they are missing information that is crucial to you receiving your check.
Scammers may also claim that you owe a debt to the IRS and they will strongly urge you to sign over your stimulus check to cover this debt. There are also a variety of email scams going around. These emails will claim to be IRS official, however, they will direct you to a site where you will be prompted to “update” your personal information for IRS records.
How Do I Recognize A Scam?
This can be tough, during this uncertain time, and any time in general, we want to see the best in people. So many of us would never dream of taking advantage of others in this way, so we don’t expect this to happen to us. Just remember, the IRS DOES NOT ask for your personal information via phone or email.
Therefore, if you are on a call with someone who is pressuring you into providing sensitive information, they are not an IRS employee. Soliciting personal information and/ or money via phone or email is NOT an IRS practice.
What Should I Do If I Am Solicited?
If you are on a call with someone claiming to be from the IRS and you are spotting red flags, hang up immediately. It is also a great idea to report this to the IRS. They are constantly tracking schemes and IRS scams, which are constantly changing. It is much easier for them to do this if you report your experience.
Simply use the subject line, “IRS Phone Scam” or “IRS Email Scam”.
Tax Professionals Are At Risk
As scammers have gotten more and more sophisticated, they have shifted from only targeting individuals to targeting CPA’s and service providers. Cybercriminals are constantly seeking ways to gain access to their client’s data. This means that CPAs and service providers must be extra vigilant with the security of their software and their access credentials. Updating safeguards as they become available is key.
One of the great benefits of electronic filing is the security of your data and sensitive information. If you are considering filing a business or personal tax extension with the IRS this year, be sure to file electronically.
Not only will you receive a much faster status update from the IRS, but you can have peace of mind knowing that your sensitive personal or business information is protected and safeguarded on secure servers. ExpressExtension also provides you with secure options to make your estimated tax payments when filing your extension.
With user friendly software, extensive data security measures, and a support team to help you along the way, ExpressExtension provides a complete solution. Get started today!