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Beware: tax scammers don't take a summer break

Scammers are relentless in trying to get unauthorized access to personal information in order to engage in identity theft, fraud and other nefarious activities.

The fact that it's summer doesn't change this basic fact. And so the IRS recently issued a warning about phone calls and suspicious emails from scam artists posing as IRS agents.

In this post, we will take note of that important warning.

Scammers claiming to be from the IRS are of course not a new concern. We've written about it regularly in the last few years, calling the criminals "wolves in revenue-agent clothing."

Even tax professionals are at risk, as we discussed late last year in a post about a phishing scam aimed at paid tax preparers.

It is scarcely surprising, then, that the IRS recently issued yet another warning about scammers who falsely identify themselves as IRS agents.

The scams may come in the form of phone calls, emails or even through regular mail.

The scammers are after personal information such as Social Security numbers that can be used to engage in fraud. Or they may use scare tactics - such as threatening to revoke your driver's license or to throw you in jail - trying to get you to send in money through pre-paid cards.

Since October 2013, these scams have resulted in over $38 million in collective losses to thousands of victims stung by the scammers' deceptions.

In its warning about scams, the IRS rightly reminds taxpayers that it doesn't generally initiate contact by phone or email. That statement may be become harder to get across, however, when the IRS program to use private debt collectors becomes operational. In our next post, we will update you on that program.

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