A phone scam targeting taxpayers has made its way to all 50 states around the country. According to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), nearly 3,000 people have already become victims, scammed out of more than $14 million.
Callers claim to be IRS employees, even altering their caller ID to appear like they are calling from the IRS. The callers claim the recipient of the call owes money to the IRS, and proceed to aggressively threaten their intended victim with arrest, deportation, or revocation of their driver’s license if payment is not made. Victims of the scam have reported receipt of hostile voicemails with urgent callback requests and claims of pending tax refunds as attempts to extract personal information.
Be cautious of any unexpected phone or email communication allegedly from the IRS. The real IRS will not call demanding immediate payment without first mailing you a bill and giving you the opportunity to question or appeal. The IRS will also never require you to use a specific payment method like a prepaid cash card and they won’t ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone. They also will not threaten to bring in law-enforcement to arrest you for not paying.
At this time the IRS does not use email, text messages or any social media to discuss personal tax issues involving bills or refunds. If you get a phone call and know that you owe tax money or think you might owe, call the IRS at (800) 829-1040. The IRS employees can help you with repayment questions. If you think you’ve been targeted by this scam, report it to TIGTA by calling 800-366-4484 or go online to: http://www.treasury.gov/tigta/contact_report_scam.shtml
This is just one of the many phone scams currently being reported. Be alert for any phone calls that you weren’t expecting. Instead of talking to the caller, call back the published number of the organization that the caller claims to be representing. For more tips to help protect you, read our blog about Telemarketing: How to Separate the Good from the Bad
and See the other scams that made the IRS’s annual Dirty Dozen Tax Scams list.