‘Tis the season for gift card purchases. They’re great for friends, family, and co-workers; pretty much anyone likes receiving one as a present, but there are two groups who don’t want gift cards: the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Social Security Administration (SSA).
The IRS website shows the following ways to pay your federal taxes:
- Debit or Credit Card
- “Direct Pay” (using your routing and account number)
- Wire Transfer
- Personal Checks
- Money Orders
What's not listed as an acceptable method of payment is paying your annual tax bill with an iTunes gift card, Target gift card, or any other gift card.
Just like you wouldn’t pay your rent with gift cards, you won’t pay your tax bill with them either. Many victims of this type of tax scam report receiving calls from fraudsters who claim to be from the IRS and relay that there is a “supplemental tax bill” or “back taxes” owed that must be paid immediately, or “else.” Others have received fraud calls stating that the Social Security Administration has overpaid them, and they need to pay back the funds. Usually there is a threat of imminent arrest and incarceration, or threats of larger fines down the road if the victim doesn’t pay immediately.
Keep these helpful tips in mind:
- The SSA and the IRS will ALWAYS start by mailing a letter.
- The SSA and the IRS will NEVER call you requesting information.
- The SSA and the IRS will NEVER email you.
- The SSA and the IRS will NEVER ask for payment in anything other than U.S. Dollars.
Don’t let these scammers win; if someone calls claiming to be from the Social Security Administration or the IRS, thank them for the call, hang up, and call the main office to confirm the call’s legitimacy. If a caller asks for personal information, hang up. If a caller tells you that you need to buy gift cards, hang up.
Let’s keep you and your money safe.
IRS Phone: 800-829-1040
Social Security: 800-772-1213