IRS Phone Scams Are Taking Place Across the Nation
IJ Zemelman Apr-05-2015
Tax season is in full swing, and scammers are taking advantage of unsuspecting taxpayers by posing as the IRS and collecting confidential personal information. The individuals taking part in these scams are using false names and IRS employee badge numbers. They are also altering caller ID information to appear as though they are actually calling from the Internal Revenue Service.
Taxpayers are encouraged to be on high alert for these fraudulent phone calls. The scammers are contacting taxpayers by telephone and demanding payment for IRS tax debt. They are using scare tactics to ‘encourage’ taxpayers to provide sensitive banking or credit card information over the phone. They are leaving ‘urgent’ messages and are preying on the more vulnerable groups of people living in the United States, including recently arrived immigrants, the elderly, and US Citizens and Green Card Holders for whom English is not their first language.
It’s important for you to know that IRS scammers are taking actions that the IRS would never take. The IRS contacts taxpayers through traditional mail – not over the telephone. Here are other things that the IRS would never do that scammers are doing to trick US Taxpayers:
- The IRS would never make a phone call demanding immediate payment or request bank account information or credit card numbers over the phone,
- If the IRS calls you, they would already have mailed a bill or other notice,
- The IRS will never insist that you make a payment using a specific method like a bank account or debit card number,
- The IRS won’t make demands for payment without making you aware of your right to pose questions or submit an appeal for the amount it believes you owe, and
- The IRS does not issue threats to send local law enforcement to your house or threaten to place you under arrest for failure to pay your IRS tax debt.
If you receive a telephone call from an individual who claims to be an IRS representative and is requesting money, here are the steps you should take:
- If you owe any tax debt or are under the impression that you may owe tax debt, call the Internal Revenue Service directly at toll-free (800) 829-1040. An IRS representative will be able to help you resolve any payment issues.
- If you do not owe any tax debt, get in touch with the TIGTA (Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration) to report the incident. You may either call them at toll-free (800) 366-4484 or submit a report on the Web using their IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting Page.
- Get in touch with the Federal Trade Commission and utilize their FTC Complain Assistant. If you have been targeted by a scammer impersonating an IRS representative, make sure to identify the scam by including “IRS Telephone Scam” in your report notes.
Keep in mind, also, that the IRS will not communicate through email, social media, or text messages to discuss issues related to your taxes. To learn more about how to report tax scams, visit the IRS website and type ‘scam’ in the provided search box.
I.J. Zemelman, EA is the founder of Taxes for Expats