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IRS warns public about tactics used by scammers posing as agents

The demand for unpaid taxes understandably strikes fear into some Georgia residents. Unfortunately, scammers use this emotional response to trick people into handing over their money. Although people need to take legitimate notices from the Internal Revenue Service seriously, the agency routinely issues warnings about scammers who try to pressure people into paying fake taxes. In general, the IRS informs people about real tax issues through the U.S. Postal Service. The agency issues paper bills for amounts owed, and people have a right to appeal tax bills. People also have the option to pay their taxes by check, debit or credit card. Checks would be mailed to a U.S. Department of Treasury address, and credit or debit payments would be made with select processors at the agency's website.

Scammers try to pressure people into making immediate payments. They sometimes show up unannounced at people's homes or businesses. This is a big red flag because the IRS attempts to contact people by mail before actually visiting a location. Scammers will try to frighten people with threats of arrest or revocation of a driver's license or immigration documents.

Criminals also try to reach people by telephone or email. The IRS does not communicate by these methods unless people specifically agree beforehand. An unexpected email from the IRS could contain a virus or malware that scans a computer for financial information. Bank account or credit card numbers should not be given to people calling on a telephone.

When a person does have a real compliance issue that could result in a tax lien or wage levy, the representation of an attorney could be necessary. Legal counsel could explain the meaning of a tax notice and help the client negotiate a settlement.

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