In the last five years, we had to change our mother’s checking account three times because she gave out her checking account information to a “nice young man”. Thousands of people have lost millions and their personal information through scams, con artists, and fake IRS communications.
We have all heard the stories of the former Prince from the Ivory Coast who claims to have $28 million dollars in a shoebox that he needs to transfer to a safe place in the United States. This scam has actually worked on people right here in Wisconsin. It proves that we can be gullible AND greedy. There is a story of a woman being duped by an impostor she met on a dating site who sent the victim flowers, love notes, and a request for a large loan, which was never paid back.
A few things to remember: The IRS does NOT communicate with taxpayers via email, social media, or text messages. They do not threaten taxpayers with lawsuits, imprisonment or other enforcement action.
As the end of the tax season draws near, these scams will increase, according to the IRS. Your best defense is to look at these communications with skepticism. Phone calls can appear to be from the IRS when the scammers alter the caller ID the taxpayer sees. If you suspect a con or scam, contact the IRS directly. Call us if you have questions or concerns.
Questions? Call us at 608-836-7500, or contact your Smith & Gesteland partner.