Tips to avoid tax scams

LANSING, MI (WLNS) – It’s tax season and that makes many people groan.

But things can be a lot worse if you become the victim of an IRS scam.

Officials say people are constantly fooled by fake phone schemes because they just don’t expect them.

There are ways to stay one step ahead.

You get a call from an unknown number if someone claims to be a federal agent, it can be hard to verify.

But when that mysterious caller starts saying you owe the IRS money, fear may take over.

“It gets you panicked, it makes you stop thinking and that’s what they want,” said Luis Garcia, spokesman, IRS.

Luis Garcia, an IRS spokesman wants people to know this kind of conversation is bad news.

“They’re asking for either personal information or they’re asking people or threatening people to pay money that they don’t owe for taxes that they’ve already paid.”

And once the scammers get this information, “they can file a fraudulent return with your name, open up an account with your name, take out a loan they’ll never pay back, in your name.”

Garcia says since some people are too embarrassed to report such scams, authorities may not know the con-artists’ new strategies.

But the IRS has picked up on the latest tactic in Lansing: FBI impersonators trying to collect on behalf of the IRS.

Something Garcia says real agents and police would not do.

“Local police, sheriff’s department, Michigan State Police is not going to call you about your taxes.”

There are other clear signs that should tip a potential victim off right away.

“You need to be looking out for the three big flags: IRS will never threaten you, IRS will never demand immediate payment and the IRS is never going to tell you to pay by a particular method.”

Small steps that can save you thousands.

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