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January 26, 2018

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That is Not the IRS Calling!

Jeremy Stewart | Articles

Read Time: 2:00 min


Its tax time again which unfortunately also brings along an increase in tax-related scams.  Two of the most common scams are tax identity theft and IRS imposter scams.

What is Tax Identity Theft?

Tax identity theft occurs when someone using your social security number to obtain a tax refund or obtains a job.  Typically, you find out when you receive a letter from the IRS stating that more than one tax return was filed in your name, or IRS records show reported wages from an employer that you do not know.

If you receive such a letter:

  • Contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit @ 800.908.4490
  • Visit to report and receive a recovery plan
$21 Billion
The IRS estimated that tax scammers took in $21 billion in 2016.

What are IRS imposter scams?

In this scam, someone is posing as the IRS and contact you saying that you owe taxes or attempting to collect personal information.  They usually threaten arrest if you do not pay right away using a prepaid debit card or wire transfer.  They often spoof caller ID making the call look like it is coming from Washington, DC.

What to do and what to watch out for in this type of scam?

  • The IRS does not initiate contact via email or social media to request personal information.
  • The IRS does not threaten arrest or deportation if you fail to pay immediately.
  • The IRS does not ask you to pay with prepaid debit cards, wire transfers, or ask for a credit card number over the phone.
  • The IRS notifies you of unpaid taxes via mail.
  • The legitimate IRS website always starts with
  • Report scams to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration @ 800.366.4484 or online @

Additional ways to keep your social security number and other personal information safe:

  • Do not carry your social security card with you.
  • Only share SSN when necessary. Only share it when you initiate contact, or you are sure you know who is asking for it.
  • Check your credit report annually. ( or call 877.322.8228)
  • Check your SSN earnings statement annually. (
  • Keep your computer up to date with security patches and use firewalls and antivirus/antimalware.
  • Use complex and different passwords for all accounts. When possible enable multi-factor authentication.

About Strategic

Founded in 1979, Strategic is a leading investment and wealth management firm managing and advising on client assets of over $1.8 billion.