In case you hadn’t hear, those telephone calls claiming to be from the IRS demanding you immediately pay back taxes are a scam.
(Cross-posted from my other blog, Nonprofit Update, so you may refer your clients to an article that provides depth on how to avoid becoming victim of recent scams.)
The most frequent scam in 2016 was the phone calls saying “This is the IRS and if you don’t pay your past due taxes this instant we will send someone to your house to arrest you right now.”
There are many things wrong with those calls.
As a starter, your first contact with the IRS will never be by phone. You will instead get a letter explaining what the IRS thinks you messed up.
You also won’t get a phone call from the IRS asking you to settle up by credit card, prepaid debit card, or wire transfer.
And as for that threat of arrest, you will likely know for a long time that the is IRS moving down the path of criminal charges. On the other hand, if you have been a very naughty boy or girl, your first inkling that the IRS is thinking of going into the criminal arena may be when an agent of the Criminal investigation Division puts handcuffs on you. But a threat by phone to arrest you? Nah.
Kelly Phillips Erb reports in Forbes, Bogus IRS Calls Topped List Of Most Reported Scams In 2016, that the fake IRS calls were the biggest scam in 2016.
The article also says the reported number of incidents fell in 12/16, probably due to a number of arrests of alleged scammers in October as a result of a multi agency investigation running over the last few years.
If you want some ideas on how to protect yourself from common scams, check out the article.
Article also has the rest of the list of most popular scams of the year.
If you want tips to communicate to your congregation or constituency how to avoid getting ripped off, the article provides lots of ideas.