As the traditional season of giving begins, scam artists are stepping up efforts to take advantage of your generosity and compassion. Here are two schemes the IRS has recently issued warnings about.

  • IRS impersonators. The scam: Your phone rings and a caller says, “I’m from the IRS, you owe us money, and we’re going to throw you in jail if you don’t pay immediately with a pre-paid debit card or wire transfer.”The truth: The IRS will not make initial contact about your tax return over the phone, and will never require you to pay your taxes via debit or credit card or wire transfer.

    Defense: Hang up immediately. Report the scam attempt to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, the Federal Trade Commission, and the IRS.

  • Fake charities. The scam: You’re approached via telephone call, social media, email, or in-person solicitation, and asked to donate to a newly established charity to help “educate the public” about victims of the floods in South Carolina or other major disaster.The truth: Scammers want both your money and to lure you into revealing personal information so they can compromise your financial identity.

    Defense: Find out if the charity is registered in your state by visiting the website of the National Association of State Charity Officials. Also check with the Better Business Bureau, Charity Navigator, GuideStar, or similar watchdog groups.

Protect yourself from scams by calling us to discuss your tax questions. We’re here to help.