As reports continue to filter in daily regarding telephone threats and tax scams not only here in Michigan's Great Southwest, but all across the state, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has issued today an updated consumer alert for tax season with tips on how to avoid the latest tax and IRS related scams.
Tax season is typically a time the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Team sees an uptick in complaints relating to tax-related scams, and this season is rife with more of the same. Schuette tells us, “Tax season can be stressful enough without the added worry of falling victim to a scam artist.” He adds, “I encourage residents to file early and take a look at these tips to provide an extra layer of security during tax season.”
Schuette noted that the IRS will never contact you asking for personal information by phone or email. Schuette encourages any resident who believes they have received fraudulent calls or emails to contact the IRS directly.
Schuette’s Consumer Protection Team has reported the following as scams to watch out for:
Phone Scams to Watch For:
- A high pressure call that threatens legal action which can only be avoided by immediate payment.
- A caller identifies themselves as an IRS employee and tells the targeted victim that they are eligible for a sizable rebate for filing taxes early if they submit bank account information for direct deposit of the rebate or refund.
- A person claiming to be an IRS employee indicates the IRS sent a check that has not been cashed and the IRS needs to verify the individual's bank account number.
IRS Email Scams to Watch For:
- Using the official IRS logo.
- Using whole sections of text from the IRS's website.
- Using a fake "from" address that looks similar to the IRS.
- Using forms with numbers similar to those the IRS already uses.
The IRS will never contact you via email so don’t be fooled.
What to Do if You Get an Email or Phone Call Claiming to Come From the IRS:
- If you don’t owe taxes, hang up immediately or delete the email without opening it. Report any suspicious solicitation to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration hotline at 800-366-4484.
- If you do owe on your taxes, call the IRS at 800-829-1040 if you need federal tax assistance.
- Do not click on any links embedded in a suspicious email.
- You may forward emails to firstname.lastname@example.org, the address established by the IRS to receive, track, and shut down these scams. Detailed instructions for how to send the emails are available through the IRS. You may not receive an individual response to your email because of the volume of reports the IRS receives each day.
- Report misuse of the IRS name, logo, forms, or other IRS property to the Treasury Inspector General hotline at 800-366-4484.
- The only genuine IRS website is www.irs.gov. You should never get to this site using a link embedded into an email – instead enter the address in your browser. A website link embedded into an email can easily take you to a fake site.
View the full Attorney General Consumer Alert, “IRS Phone and Email Tax Scams”.
For general consumer protection questions or complaints, you may reach the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division at:
P.O. Box 30213 Lansing, MI 48909
517-373-1140 Fax: 517-241-3771
Toll free: 877-765-8388
www.michigan.gov/ag (online complaint form)