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Tax Scams

Each year, thousands of Hoosiers fall victim to tax scams that end up costing millions. Scammers often use scare or intimidation tactics to pressure victims in sharing personal information, making payments or allowing access to private information.  If you ever receive a communication from an organization identifying themselves as a revenue-related agency or a third party hired by a revenue agency, you have the right to question their “demands” and refuse to meet their requests.

Educating yourself to better understand how scammers operate and what to do when you become a target, is a great start to protecting yourself and your personal information. Find more information on identifying and dealing with scammers below:

If you are unsure if a letter, email, call or any other form of communication came directly from the Indiana Department of Revenue (DOR) or the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), contact DOR’s Customer Service Department at 317-232-2240, Monday through Friday 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., EST.  If the communication is legitimate, we will have records to confirm this correspondance. 
 

Email Scams

Many email scams target taxpayers by impersonating DOR, the IRS, or "local revenue service" organizations. If you receive an email, remember, not to click on any links or open attachments coming from an unknown sender.Contact DOR or the IRS. 

Phone Scams

Phone scams are designed to threaten taxpayers into paying money toward bogus tax bills. Tax time is typically when these type of scams surge to trick the taxpayer into paying money to criminals claiming to be from the IRS or DOR. Remember, criminals can work around caller ID to appear to be from anywhere in the country, including from a DOR or IRS office. If a customer questions the validity of call received from someone identifying themselves as a representative from either tax agency, customers are encouraged to hang up and call the agency directly to check on the credibility of the call.

Phone Scam Examples:

  • In June, an automated phone message was being sent to customers claiming they will be taken into custody by local law enforcement as they have several serious allegations pending. These calls often come from a phone number in New Jersey, and asked the customer to call the scammers back at a specific phone number. 
  • In early 2018, DOR received reports on a scam involving identity thieves filing fraudulent tax returns with refunds going to the taxpayer’s bank account. The scammer then called the victims to convince them to send the refund money to the scammer.

How to Identify a Scam

Remember DOR cannot:
  • Call customers to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method, such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. Generally, the taxpayer will receive a bill in the mail if taxes are owed.
  • Demand taxpayers pay taxes without the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed. Taxpayers should also be advised of Indiana’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights.
  • Threaten to bring in local police, immigration officers or other law-enforcement to have the taxpayer arrested for refusing payment.
  • Threaten to revoke a taxpayer’s driver’s license, business licenses or immigration status. Threats like these are common tactics scam artists use to trick victims into buying into their schemes.

What to Do if You Become a Target of a Scam Artist

If individuals feel they are being targeted with a tax scam, DOR encourages them to follow these guidelines:
  1. Do not give the caller any personal information.
  2. If you’ve received an email, do not click on any links or attachments unless you know it is from a legitimate source; if you’re not sure, don’t click.
  3. When in doubt, call the IRS or DOR to confirm any communications.
  4. Report any scams to the IRS or DOR.

To confirm any claims made by potential scammer contact the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 or DOR Customer Service at 317-232-2240, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. EST.

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