Phone ScamsComment April 4, 2016 by IRS
Aggressive and threatening phone calls by criminals impersonating IRS agents remain a major threat to taxpayers, and headline the annual "Dirty Dozen" list of tax scams for the 2016 filing season. The IRS has seen a surge of these phone scams as scam artists threaten police arrest, deportation, license revocation and other things.
There are many variations of these scams. The caller may threaten you with arrest or court action to trick you into making a payment. Some schemes may say you're entitled to a huge refund. These all add up to trouble.
Don't be fooled by callers pretending to be from the IRS in an attempt to steal your money. You can protect yourself by recognizing these scams.
- Scammers make unsolicited calls claiming to be IRS officials. They demand that the victim pay a bogus tax bill. They con the victim into sending cash, usually through a prepaid debit card or wire transfer. They may also leave “urgent” callback requests through phone “robo-calls,” or via a phishing email.
- Many phone scams use threats to intimidate and bully a victim into paying. They may even threaten to arrest, deport or revoke the license of their victim if they don’t get the money.
- Scammers often alter caller ID numbers to make it look like the IRS or another agency is calling. The callers use IRS titles and fake badge numbers to appear legitimate. They may use the victim’s name, address and other personal information to make the call sound official.
- Some schemes provide an actual IRS address where they tell the victim to mail a receipt for the payment they make. Others use emails that contain a fake IRS document with a phone number or an email address for a reply. These scams often use official IRS letterhead in emails or regular mail that they send to their victims. They try these ploys to make the ruse look official.
Here are five things the scammers often do that the IRS will not do.
The IRS will never:
- call to demand immediate payment, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill.
- demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
- require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.
- ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
- threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS and asking for money, here’s what you should do:
If you don’t owe taxes, or have no reason to think that you do:
- Do not give out any information. Hang up immediately.
- Contact TIGTA to report the call. Use their “IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting” web page. You can also call 800-366-4484.
- Report it to the Federal Trade Commission. Use the “FTC Complaint Assistant” on FTC.gov. Please add "IRS Telephone Scam" in the notes.
If you know you owe, or think you may owe tax:
- Call the IRS at 800-829-1040. IRS employees can help you.
Stay alert to scams that use the IRS as a lure. Tax scams can happen any time of year, not just at tax time. For more, visit “Tax Scams and Consumer Alerts” on IRS.gov.
IRS YouTube Video:
Tax Scams – English | Spanish | ASL
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