ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — As Tax Day nears, scams become more and more prevalent. The IRS says thousands of people have lost millions of dollars along with personal information to tax scams, and while scams happen year-round, they pick up during tax season.
They say scams usually come in the form of calls, texts, and emails. Mary Hamilton, CEO of Mad Data IO, says it could sound like a basic request.
“Messages like, you need to confirm your pin number or it didn’t go through, your refund didn’t go through, click on this link to verify your data,” are often fraudulent she says.
Scammers will also pile on the pressure to make you comply quickly.
“It’s all scare tactics, they will say you know, you have been found guilty, you need to call this number immediately because you haven’t paid your taxes,” she said.
Now she says scams are also changing. Deepfakes and artificial intelligence are already being used for scams. Hamilton says any video or audio on the internet can be manipulated to sound like an IRS agent.
“The bigger concern that we have to worry about now is AI and deep fakes,” she said. “We’re going to see more and more of that in 2023 and beyond.”
The IRS has information about how to identify a scam. First of all, most legitimate contact will be made via the U.S. Postal Service. Plus, agents won’t ask you to provide payment information over the phone.
The IRS has a page dedicated to helping the public figure out if an IRS agent is real or fake.
Some things to keep in mind according to their website:
The IRS does NOT:
- Call to demand that a taxpayer use a payment method such as a prepaid debit card or gift card. Generally, the IRS will first mail a bill to any taxpayer who owes taxes.
- Send text messages or contact people through social media.
- Demand that you pay taxes without the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed. They will advise you of your rights as a taxpayer.
- Threaten to bring in local police, immigration officers, or other law enforcement to have you arrested for not paying. The IRS also cannot revoke your driver’s license, business license, or immigration status. Threats like these are common tactics used by scam artists to trick victims into buying into their schemes.