Working at a tax resolution firm, I knew it was a scam, but even then, my chest tightened when I heard the message on my answering machine. “The IRS is filing a lawsuit against you.” It seems everyone is afraid of the IRS, even those of us who take standard deductions, report all income, and dot our i’s and cross our t’s. Scammers prey on this fear, figuring we will do anything to keep the Big Bad Wolf at bay.

Here’s how I knew it was a scam. If you owe the IRS money (or haven’t filed a return), they will contact you BY MAIL. Not by landline, cell, or e-mail. Or Facebook, Snapchat, or smoke signal. Good, old-fashioned [snail] mail. Furthermore, the IRS doesn’t ask for an immediate payment by credit or debit card.

Just like they said on Schoolhouse Rock, Knowledge is Power. Knowing about the scams will keep you from falling victim to one. So here’s what to do:

• If you receive an email that looks suspicious (think – how would the IRS know your email address?), forward it to And then delete it. DO NOT click on any links in an email sent by someone you don’t know. Having said that, I’m going to recommend some links. If you’re extra cautious, Google the departments below and browse to the sites.

• If you receive a voice mail that sounds suspicious, report it to both the Federal Trade Commission and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA, my new favorite acronym)

• If you receive a phone call, hang up!

On the other hand, if you receive mail from the IRS, and it includes your identifying information and looks accurate, call Tax Defense Partners at (800) 600-4300 for a free consultation.

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