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Beware of fake IRS text messages

Most taxpayers in Georgia dread receiving a contact from the Internal Revenue Service. Fears of an audit, a tax levy or asset seizure come to mind. Unfortunately, there are unscrupulous individuals in the world who choose to prey upon these fears. Fake contacts through telephone calls, emails and text messages have become more common.

Fake IRS scams are becoming more common in recent years, and the SMS is the latest method of initiating the scam. Using a text message that looks like it came from the IRS is increasingly popular among scammers. This is because people respond to a higher percentage of SMS messages than emails. After the message is sent, the scammer may then attempt to extort money under the guise of a fake tax liability.

To ease fears of those receiving a bogus contact from the IRS, a little education may help. Though the IRS does use SMS to contact a taxpayer, this method is rare and is only used for a specific purpose. When a taxpayer creates an online account, the IRS requires a mobile device to be associated with the account. When the account is created, the IRS will send a text message with a secret code to confirm the account. Other than that instance, the IRS does not use SMS for contact purposes. Most assuredly, is does not use SMS to ask for asset information, identify a tax liability or threaten asset seizure.

The IRS continues to use regular mail to notify a taxpayer of adverse circumstances of an account. Those receiving a fake contact can contact the IRS by phone, letter or a visit to a local field office to seek verification. Before sending any money or personal information to the contact, a taxpayer may wish to consult with an experienced tax attorney to make sure the claim is valid.

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