A colleague was just scammed by IRS Impersonators. Below are tips to avoid this and instructions on actions to take if you are scammed.
With the beginning of the US income tax filing season, the US Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) is urging taxpayers to be wary of unsolicited telephone calls and emails from people claiming to represent the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Here is what you need to know. The IRS first contacts people by mail, not by phone, about unpaid taxes; and the IRS will not ask for payment using a prepaid debit card, a money order or wire transfer. Also, the IRS will not ask for a credit card number over the phone.
The callers who commit this fraud often:
- Utilize an automated robo-call machine.
- May know the last four digits of the victim's Social Security Number.
- Make caller ID information appear as if the IRS is calling.
- Aggressively demand immediate payment to avoid being criminally charged or arrested.
- Claim that hanging up the telephone will cause the immediate issuance of an arrest warrant for unpaid taxes.
- Send bogus IRS e-mails to support their scam.
- Call a second or third time claiming to be the police or department of motor vehicles, and the caller ID again supports their claim.
If you get a call from someone claiming to be with the IRS
asking for payment, here's what to do:
- If you owe Federal taxes, or think you might owe taxes, hang up and call the IRS at 800-829-1040. IRS workers can help you with your payment questions.
- If you do not owe taxes, fill out the "IRS Impersonation scam" form on TIGTA's website, www.tigta.gov, or call TIGTA at 800-366-4484.
- You can also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at www.FTC.gov. Add "IRS Telephone Scam" to the comments in your complaint.
TIGTA encourages taxpayers to be alert to phone and e-mail scams that use the IRS name. The IRS will never request personal or financial information by e-mail, text, or any social media. You should forward scam e-mails to firstname.lastname@example.org. Do not open any attachments or click on any links in those e-mails.