Avoid the IRS Telephone Scam

July 12, 2016
Source: Avoid the IRS Telephone Scam
Type of News: Protection & Security

Have you or someone you love ever received a call from the IRS demanding payment or asking to verify your personal information to send a refund?

If so, you are one of the roughly 896,000 Americans that have been contacted by scammers. This con and many others can happen anytime of the year and usually peak during tax filing season. 

As stated on www.irs.gov, “Aggressive and threatening phone calls by criminals impersonating IRS agents remain a major threat to taxpayers. The IRS has seen a surge of these phone scams as scam artists threaten police arrest, deportation, license revocation and other things. The IRS reminds taxpayers to guard against all sorts of con games that arise during any filing season.”

“There are many variations. The caller may threaten you with arrest or court action to trick you into making a payment,” IRS Commissioner John Koskinen stated. “Some schemes may say you’re entitled to a huge refund. These all add up to trouble. Some simple tips can help protect you.”

Protect Yourself

“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.  Scammers may also leave ‘urgent’ callback requests through phone ’robo-calls,’ or via a phishing email. 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,” the IRS states on their website www.irs.gov.

Any of the following are five items are actions scammers do but 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 receive a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS and asking for money, take the following actions:

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 the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration 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 workers 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.”

If you believe you have been the victim of a scam:

  • Report the information to the FRAUD Hotline immediately – they will help you with the next steps of where to go and what to do.
  • Call the appropriate law enforcement agency to improve the government’s data as well as its ability to prosecute the perpetrators of these scams.
  • Block the phone number.
  • Screen all incoming calls.”

If you are interested in learning more about these scam calls and where to report them, speak with a Community Resource Specialist: (408) 350-3200, option 1.

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