Cash clever: Be too smart for these tax-time phone scams

Tips By April Payne February 16, 2021

If a smooth-talking caller has ever tried to cheat you out of your hard-earned money, you’re far from alone. Such scams tend to be rampant at tax time and scammers are posing government representatives, demanding victims send money to avoid arrest or deportation.


What is a tax scam?

Many fraudsters see tax time as an ideal time to prey on people facing uncertainty or anxiety about filing their tax returns, which is why they may call and impersonate government officials threatening arrest, deportation, eviction, or license revocation if taxes are not paid immediately by using a money transfer, loading a prepaid card or purchasing a gift card. Remember, if there is an issue with your taxes, the government will not send a text or email to discuss the problem. They will never request payment without sending a bill first; will allow questions or appeals about your bill; won’t direct you to use specific payment methods; won’t ask for your credit or debit card numbers by phone and won’t threaten arrest or similar consequences.


How can tax scams be avoided?

Education and awareness are a consumer’s greatest tactics to fight fraud. While scammers can often be clever, knowing some of their strategies can be the first step toward protecting yourself from their tactics. Do not send a money transfer to anyone who asks you to send them money to pay taxes. The government does not contact consumers to demand payment for taxes through money transfer or prepaid cards.


If you or someone you know has fallen victim to one of these scams and they sent money using Western Union, report it immediately. Find more information on fraud and scams and how to protect yourself at


This content was created by Brandpoint for Western Union.