CHICO — Here we go again, folks. Another year, another tax season and another round of harassment from people pretending to be the Internal Revenue Service.
This is one that never fails to show up each year from January through April, and sometimes after that. Scammers call and email mimicking the IRS and demanding that you pay up or else. They act like loan sharks and pull out all the tactics to try and get you to panic and wire them money. Don’t give in because I assure you, these sharks have no teeth.
One thing I can say for sure is that official government employees aren’t going to ask you to wire them money to a specific account or pay them with gift cards. If someone tries this via email, ignore it. If you answer a call, feel free to hang up on them and if you have concerns, call the IRS directly afterward.
I stress these things especially because there is a chance the scammer will use fake caller IDs that might very well come in as a government office or the IRS itself. A warning from the California Attorney General’s Office regarding these types of scams said that the scammer may even follow up with another phone call pretending to be the police. It might be scary or jarring in the moment, but this isn’t how government works.
Remember, the government is slow and typically uses the United States Postal Service to send urgent messages. That said, never be afraid to call them.
The goal of these scams will either be to get quick money from you by using fear tactics or to gather financial information to eventually try and steal your tax return when it comes in. Don’t give them the satisfaction.
Stay safe out there folks and be warned, this definitely won’t be the last column this year in which I bring up taxes and the IRS.
Scam of the Week generally runs every Tuesday. Readers are welcome to contact reporter Jake Hutchison to report scams and potential scams they have come in contact with by calling 828-1329 or via email at email@example.com.