The IRS continues to warn the public regarding criminals who pose as IRS representatives in an effort to steal money or trick persons into giving up personal information that might lead to identity theft. Here are some things to be aware of when you receive these types of calls:
- Calls are unsolicited. Often, such calls are from someone claiming to be an IRS official and requesting payment for a bogus tax bill. Such requests may come via “urgent” callback requests made via phone robocalling or phishing emails. In both instances, the criminal will typically try to con their target into sending cash to pay the bill by wire transfer or using a pre-paid debit card.
- These calls are often accompanied by threats. The caller may insist that the target will face arrest or other legal action if payments are not made immediately.
- Scammers may spoof Caller ID. These scams often involve the use of tools that allow criminals to alter their Caller ID so it looks like the IRS or another government agency is calling. They’ll try to enhance their credibility by employing IRS titles and even badge numbers in an effort to convince victims to divulge sensitive personal information or send payments.
- Cons always have new tricks at the ready. Scammers have developed schemes using an actual IRS address, emails with fake IRS documents featuring return phone numbers and email addresses, and even official IRS letterhead.
- These scams cost their victims millions. Between October 2013 and October 2015, there were approximately 736,000 reports of these kinds of scams. Sadly, nearly 4,500 people feel victim to them and paid more than $23 million as a result of the scams.
The IRS will not:
- Call you to demand an immediate payment. The IRS always sends a bill in the mail before calling individuals regarding tax payments.
- Demand that you pay taxes without the option to question or appeal what is owed.
- Set a specific requirement for how you must pay your taxes, such as via a pre-paid debit card.
- Request credit or debit card numbers via telephone.
- Threaten to arrest you for not paying.
Stay alert for scams using the IRS as a lure. And remember, these types of scams happen year round, not just at tax time. To learn more, visit “Tax Scams and Consumer Alerts” on the IRS.gov website.
Familiarize yourself with your rights as a citizen and taxpayer when dealing with the IRS. You’ll find them at Taxpayer Bill of Rights where you can learn more about your rights and the obligations of the IRS to protect them.
If you think you’ve received a call from a scammer posing as the IRS, report it to Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration on their “IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting” web page or call them at 800-366-4484.