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Why Smart People Fall For IRS Phone Scams

The IRS is not calling you.

Why is it that smart people fall for IRS phone scams?

Scammers are persistent.

The fake IRS is persistent, and taxpayers don’t really understand how the real IRS works. The fake IRS’ persistence combined with the taxpayer’s ignorance starts to eat away at your confidence.

The scammers may have a lot of your personal information.

The fake IRS frequently has a lot of personal information about you. They may know your full name, your address, and all or part of your Social Security Number (most commonly, the last four digits).

It’s important to remember that none of that information is very private. Heck, every time I call the cable company, they ask for the last four digits of my SSN to confirm my identity. So does my credit card company. And my cell phone company. And let’s not forget about Experian and the IRS – both of whom have been hacked in recent years.

Maybe you really do owe taxes.

Sometimes the taxpayer might actually owe the IRS money. To them, it seems reasonable that the IRS is calling them to demand payment. As discussed previously though, calling you about your tax debt really isn’t part of their collections process.

You’re honest.

And finally, most people a fundamentally good people who want to do the right thing and stay out of trouble. The fake IRS preys on this.

What to do if you still have doubts?

Hang up the phone and go Google the real IRS’ phone number. Call it. Wait an hour on hold. Talk to the real IRS.

OR – Hang up the phone and make a payment directly to the IRS. Go to their website or look in the instructions for your tax form, look up the address, and mail a payment to the IRS. Alternatively, you can pay them online via IRS Directpay.

Do not write down the phone number that the fake IRS gives you. Do not write down the address that the fake IRS gives you. Go look up that information.

And last but not least: CALL YOUR ACCOUNTANT!

Seriously, if you have an accountant, just let them handle it. Don’t call the IRS on your own. Call your accountant.

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