DISB Consumer Alert
Beware of IRS Tax Scams
The District of Columbia Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking is warning District consumers to be on the alert for Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Tax Scams.
Be on the Alert for Tax Scams
Tax season is upon us, a time of year when scammers go into overdrive. Be extra careful while online and avoid activities that could put your identity and finances at risk. It does not matter whether you owe money to the IRS or are expecting a refund--scammers will target you regardless of your situation.
Scammers attempt to create a sense of urgency or develop a story that will compel you to disclose personal information such as your date of birth, social security number, driver’s license number, or even account usernames and passwords. Watch out for these common scams:
- Refund Calculation Scam: “The IRS recalculated your refund. Congratulations, we found an error in the original calculation of your tax return and owe you additional money. Please verify your account information so we can make a deposit.”
- Stimulus Payment Scam: “Our records show that you have not claimed your COVID-19 stimulus payment. Please provide us with your information so we can send you the payment.”
- Verification Scam: “We need to verify your W-2 and other personal information. Please take pictures of your driver’s license, documents, and forms and send them to us.”
- Fake Tax Preparers: Watch out for tax preparers that refuse to sign the returns they prepare. If they gain access to your information, they may file fraudulent tax returns redirecting your refund or attempt to access your bank accounts.
How to Protect Yourself
You can avoid falling for an IRS scam if you know how to spot these scammers and their tricks, which starts with understanding how the IRS contacts taxpayers. Here is a list of things a tax scammer will do but The IRS will never do:
- Call, text, or email you and demand immediate payment.
- Demand payment without any chance to appeal or question the amount due.
- Threaten to have you arrested.
- The IRS does not accept payments by gift cards.
If you are unsure that the person calling you is from the IRS office, hang up and contact the U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration on their toll-free hotline: 1-800-366-4484, or visit treasury.gov/tigta/. You may also contact the Enforcement and Consumer Protection Division of the DC Department of the Insurance, Securities and Banking at 202-727-8000.
Our mission is three-fold: (1) cultivate a regulatory environment that protects consumers and attracts and retains financial services firms to the District; (2) empower and educate residents and (3) support the development and expansion of business.