Receiving a notice from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) can be stressful for any taxpayer, especially if it involves an unexpected tax bill. Scammers know this and often use fake IRS forms to trick taxpayers into paying them instead of the actual tax owed. One of the most common fake forms used by scammers is the fake CP2000 form. In this post, we will discuss what the CP2000 form is, how scammers use it to defraud taxpayers, and how to avoid falling for this scam.
What Is the CP2000 form?
The CP2000 form is a legitimate form used by the IRS to inform taxpayers of discrepancies between the income and payment information reported on their tax returns and the information reported to the IRS by third parties, such as employers and financial institutions. The CP2000 form is not a bill but rather a proposed adjustment to the taxpayer’s tax liability based on the additional information provided to the IRS.
How Do Scammers Use the CP2000 Form to Defraud Taxpayers?
Scammers use the CP2000 form as a template to create fake versions that look almost identical to the real thing. They then send these fake forms to unsuspecting taxpayers, either by email or regular mail, and demand immediate payment of the alleged tax debt. The scammers may use threats of legal action, arrest, or deportation to intimidate the taxpayers into paying the fake tax bill.
How to Identify a Fake CP2000 Form?
There are several ways to identify a fake CP2000 form:
- The form asks for payment to be made to an entity other than the U.S. Treasury. The IRS never asks taxpayers to make payments to third parties or by using wire transfers, gift cards, or cryptocurrency.
- The form includes a telephone number or email address that is different from the official IRS contact information. The scammers may use a phone or email that appears to be from the IRS but is actually a fake number or address that they control.
- The form asks for personal information, such as Social Security number, bank account number, or passport number, that is not needed to verify the taxpayer’s identity or address the alleged tax issue. The scammers may use this information to steal the taxpayer’s identity or commit other forms of fraud.
What to Do If You Receive a Fake CP2000 Form?
If you receive a CP2000 form that you suspect to be fake, you should take the following steps:
- Do not respond to the form or provide any personal or financial information to the sender.
- Contact the IRS directly to verify if the form is legitimate. You can call the IRS toll-free at 800-829-1040 or visit your local IRS office.
- If you determine that the form is fake, report it to the IRS and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) as soon as possible. You can use the IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting webpage or call the IRS toll-free at 800-366-4484. You can also file a complaint with the FTC using their Complaint Assistant.
How to Avoid Falling for a Fake CP2000 Form?
To avoid falling for a fake CP2000 form, you should take the following precautions:
- Be wary of unsolicited emails or mail that claim to be from the IRS or other government agencies. The IRS will never initiate contact with taxpayers by email or social media, nor will they threaten arrest or legal action for non-payment.
- Verify any tax issues or discrepancies with the IRS directly. You can check your tax account online using the IRS Tax Account tool or by calling the IRS toll-free at 800-829-1040.
- Use secure and reputable tax preparers or software to file your tax returns. The IRS maintains a list of authorized e-file providers.
- Keep your personal and financial information secure. Do not share your Social Security number, bank account number, or other sensitive information with anyone who does not have a legitimate need for it.
- Be suspicious of anyone who asks for payment in unusual ways, such as wire transfers, gift cards, or cryptocurrency. The IRS will only accept payment by check, money order, or credit card.
- Stay informed about the latest tax scams and frauds by visiting the IRS website or subscribing to their email updates.
The fake CP2000 form scam is a common tactic used by scammers to defraud unsuspecting taxpayers. By understanding what the real CP2000 form looks like, how scammers use it to trick taxpayers, and how to protect yourself from this scam, you can avoid falling victim to their schemes. Remember to always verify any tax issues or discrepancies with the IRS directly and to keep your personal and financial information secure. If you do receive a fake CP2000 form, report it to the IRS and the FTC as soon as possible to help prevent others from being victimized by this scam.