IRS Identity Theft Scams

Believe it or not, some con artists have the gall to pretend they're from the IRS -- making it easier to snag people with their identity theft scams

Nowadays, most people know that they need to be cautious in order to avoid falling prey to identity theft scams, especially online. But we also tend to pay close attention to missives we receive from the government, particularly the Internal Revenue Service.

It never occurs to most people that a scammer might be bold enough to risk the wrath of the IRS just to steal someone's identity. The purpose of this article is to dispel that dangerous illusion.

The Brutal Truth

Some scoundrels don't mind pretending to be IRS to draw you out, because remember: stealing your ID insulates them to some extent from anything that the IRS, or any creditor, can do. It usually takes a great deal of investigation to track down identity thieves, after all.

Oh, the IRS will prosecute one if they can, but they're going to depend on you to straighten out the ID theft on your own. And get this: if the thief uses your Social Security Number to land a job and earn money, the IRS may audit you if you don't report that income on your tax form. It's happened.

It doesn't matter that you didn't know about it; again, the IRS feels it's your responsibility to clear up the identity theft and report it to the proper authorities expeditiously. And they're right. It's also your responsibility not to fall for scams in the first place.

Refunds, Inheritances, and Lotteries

Years back, I wrote an article about how thieves were phishing for personal info by claiming the target was entitled to a tax refund, if only they'd click a link and fill out a form. People are still falling for this one, even though when they owe you money, the IRS usually just sends you a check.

Furthermore, they prefer to work through the U.S. Postal Service, not email.

Recently, thieves have started sending out forms purporting to be for sudden inheritances, lottery winnings, or other windfalls that they claim you'll receive as soon as you provide the right info. You may have to include your SSN, bank account number, date of birth, and even your mom's maiden name.

In other words, everything they need to steal your life and money.

Don't Buy It

Let's be real here. The IRS has all the information on you that it's ever likely to need, given its access to government resources. If anyone supposedly from the IRS approaches you asking for something as simple as your SSN or phone number, they're not IRS.

To use the vernacular, they're trying to sell you a big pile of BS. So be well aware of the reality of IRS identity theft scams, and refuse to fall for them.

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