5 Things Scammers Do That The IRS Will Never Do

Here are five things the scammers often do but the IRS will not do. Any one of these five things is a tell-tale sign of a scam.

The IRS will never:

  • Call to demand immediate payment, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill.
  • Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
  • Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.
  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
  • Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.

If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS and asking for money, here’s what you should do:

If you don’t owe taxes, or have no reason to think that you do:

  • Do not give out any information. Hang up immediately.
  • Contact TIGTA to report the call. Use their “IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting” web page. You can also call 800-366-4484.
  • Report it to the Federal Trade Commission. Use the “FTC Complaint Assistant” on FTC.gov. Please add "IRS Telephone Scam" in the notes.

If you know you owe, or think you may owe tax:

  • Call the IRS at 800-829-1040. IRS workers can help you.

Stay alert to scams that use the IRS as a lure. Tax scams can happen any time of year, not just at tax time. For more, visit “Tax Scams and Consumer Alerts” on IRS.gov.

Keep Your Data Safe - Protect Your Computer

Tens of thousands of new malware programs launch each day, making the use of security software essential to safe internet use. These malware programs can disable your computer, install viruses that give cybercriminals control, steal your data, track your keystrokes to give criminals your passwords and many other malicious acts.

Here are a few basic steps to help protect your computer:

  1. Use pre-installed security software. Many computers come pre-installed with firewall and anti-virus protections. A good broad-based anti-malware program should be able to protect you from viruses, Trojans, spyware and adware.

  2. Turn on automatic updates. Set your security software to update automatically so it can be upgraded as threats emerge. Also, make sure your security software is on at all times.

  3. Investigate your security software options. Search out trusted sources to learn more about security software options. This will help you decide if you should invest in security software that gives you even stronger protections and options.

  4. Consider encryption software. If you retain important financial documents, such as prior-year tax returns, on your computer, consider investing in encryption software to prevent unauthorized access by hackers or identity thieves.

  5. Protect your children. If your children also use the same device, make sure it has parental control options to protect your children from malicious websites. Educate your children about the threats of opening suspicious web pages, emails or documents.

  6. Set password protections for all devices. Whether it’s your computer, tablet or mobile phone, always set a password requirement for accessing the device. If it is lost or stolen, your device is still protected from access.

  7. Protect your wireless network. Set password and encryption protections for your wireless network. If your home or business Wi-Fi is unsecured it also allows any computer within range to access your wireless and steal information from your computer.

  8. Never download “security” software from a pop-up ad. A pervasive ploy is a pop-up ad that indicates it has detected a virus on your computer. It urges you to download a security software package. Don’t fall for it. It most likely will install some type of malware. Reputable security software companies do not advertise in this manner.

  9. Avoid downloads from suspicious sources. Never open a PDF document or picture attached in an email from an unknown source. It may contain malware.

2016 Tax Change Summary

2016 Tax Change Summary

1. Tax penalties related to Obamacare are going up again. The Affordable Care Act imposed penalties for those not having qualifying health care coverage. Those penalties started at $95 per adult, or 1% of income above the filing threshold in 2014, but they rose to $285 per adult, or 2% of income above the filing limit in 2015. For 2016, penalties will rise again, hitting $695 per adult, or 2.5% of income. A family maximum will apply to the per-person amount, but the $2,085 amount will be substantially higher than the $975 in 2015, and the $285 in 2014.

Read More