I am beginning to think that we are the tax scam capital of the U.S.
Almost daily, I hear that someone had gotten one or more phone calls from the IRS. My contacts are confused. They keep telling me that the message comes as a recording, telling them to call a particular telephone number or they will go to jail.
One of my friends got four such phone messages within two days with different case numbers and from different telephone numbers. And this was after he answered the phone on the second ring. He never did get a live person.
Another contact returned the call (after his second or third call) and there was nobody at the other end, just a confusing message.
People, please believe me, the IRS believes in supporting the U.S. Postal Service and not various telephone companies.
According to IRS.gov, the IRS will never call to demand immediate payment, require a specific payment method or threaten to bring in local police or other law enforcement to make an arrest.
Generally, if money is owed to the IRS, the check, money order or credit card payment must be made directly to the U.S. Treasury.
The IRS does not accept gift cards from Pay Pal or iTunes or any gambling establishment.
You can report such calls to the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office at 843-255-3200, or the IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting Line at 800-366-4484.
If you receive a suspicious text message, forward the text, as is, to the IRS at 202-552-1226. Check the latest in reporting scammers at www.IRS.gov.
Protect yourself. No matter how persuasive a caller is, a scam is still a scam. If you are unsure of the legitimacy of the call, hang up before you give out too much information about yourself.
Never, never, ever give your Social Security number to anyone over the phone that you do not know. And even then, be careful.
Identity theft is increasing, and you do not want to spend the next several years paying bills for someone using your Social Security number.
Be warned, be careful and be alert.
Virginia Moryadas is a tax preparation professional in Bluffton.