Don’t fall for phone or email tax scams
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Tax crooks continue to come up with new ways to try to get their hands on your money.
The latest scam is a play on a common tax notice that’s sent to taxpayers. The fake emails purport to be about an Internal Revenue Service bill related to the Affordable Care Act.
How to tell it’s a phony email
The melding of the CP2000, a commonly snail-mailed communication from the IRS, and an email request for money represents just the latest evolution in tax scams.
The crooks apparently are trying to latch on to the IRS’ frequent reminders that it sends notices to taxpayers before asking for money.
But where the IRS sends its real notices via the U.S. Postal Service, in this scam the fake notice is delivered as an email attachment.
The fraudulent CP2000 notice, notes the IRS in a statement about this new scheme, includes a payment request that taxpayers write a check to IRS, instead of to the U.S. Treasury (the real payment entity), and send the check to a processing center at a Post Office box address.
But don’t do it.
The scam notices use a tax matter that many filers still find confusing, the Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare, and its possible tax if you have insufficient health coverage. In this case, the fake CP2000 seeks information about taxpayers’ 2014 health care coverage.
There also is a payment link within the email itself.
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How the IRS will, and won’t, contact you
The one good thing that comes from this latest attempted tax crime is that it gives the IRS — and Bankrate — the chance to offer a reminder about how and when you’ll hear from the tax agency.
The CP2000 is a real notice that the IRS commonly mails out, using the U.S. Postal Service, regarding questions about a taxpayer’s filings.
But the IRS will never send a CP2000 in an email to taxpayers.
The agency does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email or through social media platforms.
If you receive the scam email, the IRS says forward it to email@example.com. Then delete it.
If receive any communication that appears to be from the IRS and makes you worry about your tax situation, call the agency directly at 1-800-829-1040 to discuss your concerns.
Keep an eye on your finances
And if you fear that your tax or other personal financial data has been compromised, monitor your credit reports. You can do so for free by using mybankrate.com.
Keep up with IRS and tax news, as well as find filing tips, calculators and more at Bankrate’s Tax Center.
Paul S. Herman CPA, a tax expert for individuals and businesses, is the founder of Herman & Company, CPA’s PC in White Plains, New York. He provides guidance and strategies to improve clients’ financial well-being.
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