As people are preparing their taxes, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) sends out a warning to look out for scam artists.

Michigan IRS spokesperson Luis Garcia told The Richard Piet Show that con artists come in all sorts of different ways — whether it's through your e-mail inbox, on the phone or even showing up at your front door.

But the majority of us shouldn't ever have to worry about the IRS chasing us down, because "99 percent of tax payers who have a tax issue know it," Garcia said.

TIPS TO AVOID SCAMS:

  • If someone calls, claiming to be from the IRS, and you haven't had any conflict with the IRS and you haven't moved, "then you need to be aware that in all likelihood this is a scam and you should just hang up," Garcia said.
  • If the IRS wants to get in touch with you, Garcia said, "the vast majority of the time, you'll get a letter in the mail." Rarely will the IRS call or show up without any prior notice.
  • The IRS will never call you out of the blue and threaten you and demand immediate payment.
  • The IRS will never say, "'Don’t talk to an accountant,' 'Don’t talk to an attorney,'" Garcia said. "The No. 1 technique they use when they call you on the phone and scare you is…they try to keep you in that bubble of fear, so that you don’t talk to anybody."
  • The IRS will not email you and ask you to visit a certain website and key in account information, which some scammers (claiming to be IRS representatives) have done.
  • Be careful when selecting your tax preparer and look over your taxes before signing off on them. You're held responsible for what you sign — whether you did your own taxes or not.

"Don’t be fooled by these scam artists – just hang up on them," Garcia said. "They may keep calling back, but just keep hanging up."

If you have any questions, Garcia said people are welcome to call the IRS at (800) 829-1040.

Hear the entire interview by clicking the player below:

Hear The Richard Piet Show weekday mornings from 5:30 to 9 a.m. on WBCK.