For many scammers, the Coronavirus pandemic may represent ripe conditions for tax debt relief scams targeting the desperate and vulnerable especially those who have suffered economic losses in the last few months. While scammers posing as IRS or State tax agents and threatening legal actions or even prison time is not new, those dealing with pandemic related economic loss may be more susceptible to the high pressure tactics used on the calls.
Cha, owner of a financial site BetterFinancial.Services, explains, “Tax debt scams have been around for a long time. But scammers know that high emotions and urgency equal more leverage. So those who lost their jobs or otherwise suffered some sort of income loss during this pandemic may be a more tempting target because you can be more easily manipulated.”
Cha continues, “It’s really a one-two punch. Losing your income is emotionally stressing enough. And you could normally be very savvy and cautious, but getting one of these calls with the high pressure scripts could really do you in especially when they make the call sound so urgent. They aim to derail your normal train of thought with some kind of a shock factor. They often use elements of social psychology to keep you tagging along. In the end you’re made to feel like you’re just about to drown when they throw you a lifesaver. That can be very tempting.”
To avoid falling prey to these or any other scam calls, Cha explains it is important to stay up to date of the changes and of your right from trusted sources, “Pick your trusted sources and choose the ways you’re going to stay informed whether it’s your accountant or the IRS website or physical letters. And stick to them. Don’t deviate.” Yet, even the most prepared are not immune to surprise scam phone calls.
“If you’re ever caught by surprise from someone claiming to be the IRS or a State tax agent,” Cha continued, “one of the best things you can do is buy yourself time to calm down and regroup. Ask them for the phone number and the file number and tell them you’re going to call right back. Then, take a deep breath, calm down, and think it through. When in doubt, try Googling the number to see if anyone reported it being a scam or if it’s coming from an area with a real tax office.”
As a general rule, Cha adds, you should never return phone calls from someone claiming to be the IRS or the like. A quick way to verify their claim is to call the IRS directly and quote the file number.
To be clear, there are legitimate tax debt relief programs available to those who qualify. To determine eligibility, you should exercise due diligence or get in touch with a reputable tax debt professional.
A trained tax debt professional may help navigate what could be an overwhelming and confusing process that often begins with a thorough examination of your current circumstances, followed by producing a proposal for the IRS or State tax department, and ultimately negotiating on your behalf for a reasonable payment program.
For more information regarding specific tax debt circumstances and options, check out:
Alternatively, tax debt relief professional are available for consultations at 1 (866) 407-0185. All calls are free, no-obligation, and confidential.
Release ID: 88965093