The 2023 tax season is quickly approaching which means tax preparation services have a lot to do (and to think about) before the tax deadline. In particular – do you have the right documents? Are your clients responding to your calls and emails? Are you protecting your clients from a potential scam? Branding your calls and stopping scammers from coming after customers should be a top priority for you this tax season.
But just like every year before, January through May is prime time for scammers and spoofers to go after unsuspecting victims and steal their personal information.
In our 2022 Financial Services Industry Report, we found that more than half of people said they received a scam/fraud call from someone posing as their bank or other financial institution. And 90% of people said it’s “extremely” or “very” important that a call from their financial institution is clearly identified with the institution’s name.
Here’s what you need to know about tax scams, tips from the IRS, and how to prevent spoofed calls with a branded call solution.
Tax Scams are on the Rise
IRS scams are one of the most popular scams affecting consumers each year, particularly around the holiday shopping and tax prep seasons. The IRS recently warned consumers that scammers are coming after tax refunds by spoofing numbers, and stealing unemployment benefits and stimulus check money from victims.
In our latest consumer scam data, IRS scams cracked the top 10 again to emerge as one of the common scams targeting taxpayers. And it’s not done yet – tax-related scam calls are expected to continue to grow throughout 2022 and really ramp up once tax season is in full swing in early 2023.
Common tactics for scammers targeting consumers include threatening language saying the taxpayer owes back taxes and claiming to offer people an easy fix for debt relief. Remember, if an offer sounds too good to be true, it usually is!
Scam Prevention Tips from the IRS
The IRS warns that criminals will make aggressive calls to taxpayers posing as IRS agents to steal money or personal information. Thankfully, they also offer some easy tips to follow that you can share with your clients to ensure they don’t become victims of a tax scam.
When it comes to phone calls about taxes, there are a few things you can guarantee the IRS will NEVER say over the phone.
The IRS will never demand immediate payment using a prepaid debit card, gift card, wire transfer, or another uncommon form of payment.
Threats to immediately call the police or other law enforcement to arrest you for not paying.
The IRS will never demand that taxes be paid immediately without an opportunity to question or appeal the amount you owe.
The IRS will never call you unexpectedly regarding your tax refund information.
But what should you do if one of your clients falls victim to a tax scam? Follow these quick tips to report them to the correct law enforcement agency.
- Record the number they called from.
- Report them to the TIGTA (U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration) using their IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting form. You can also call 800-366-4484.
- Report the number to firstname.lastname@example.org. Use “IRS Phone Scam” as your subject line.
Branded Calls: An Extra Layer of Call Protection
Reporting scammers for criminal behavior is great after you know you’ve been targeted, but what can you do to prevent a scammer from reaching clients in the first place? Two words: branded calls.
Branded Communication is First Orion’s solution to reducing the number of unknown and scam-tagged calls to your customers. It’s simple: customers that don’t know who’s calling them won’t answer their phones. We’ve found that 87% of people say they won’t answer their phones if they don’t know who’s calling.
Customers who won't answer an unknown number
That directly impacts your ability to contact your customers when you have a legitimate question or need to gather information for tax purposes over the phone.
INFORM® Branded Text Display is our branded call solution for a quick fix to identifying unknown calls.
INFORM can be up and running in minutes and gets you a 32-character personalized text that shows your brand name, department, and reason for calling for every outbound call you make.
Better yet? Your branding also shows up in the call history, so if you miss a customer, they know who called them and are more likely to call you back.
Customers who have adopted branded calls into their calling strategy have seen a 26% increase in answer rates and a 90% boost in engagement rates! That means more customers are answering, and when they answer, they’re ready to stay on the line with an agent.
Make the Call
Ready to see what Branded Communication can do for your calling strategy? Try a FREE demo of our INFORM and ENGAGE products in action and schedule a call with one of our excellent salespeople today.