Tax scammers work year-round; they don’t take the summer off. The IRS urges you to stay vigilant against calls from scammers impersonating the IRS. Here are several tips from the IRS to help you avoid being a victim:
Scams use scare tactics. These aggressive and
sophisticated scammers try to scare people into making an immediate
payment. They make threats, often threaten arrest or deportation, or
they say they’ll take away your driver’s or professional license if you
don’t pay. They may also leave “urgent” callback requests, sometimes
through “robo-calls.” Emails will often contain a fake IRS document with
a phone number or an email address for you to reply.
Scams spoof caller ID. Scammers often alter caller ID
to make it look like the IRS or another agency is calling. The callers
use IRS titles and fake badge numbers to appear legit. They may use
online resources to get your name, address and other details about your
life to make the call sound official.
Scams use phishing email and regular mail. Scammers
copy official IRS letterhead to use in email or regular mail they send
to victims. In another new variation, schemers provide an actual IRS
address where they tell the victim to mail a receipt for the payment
they make. This makes the scheme look official.
- Scams cost victims over $38 million. The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, or TIGTA, has received reports of more than one million contacts since October 2013. TIGTA is also aware of more than 6,700 victims who have collectively reported over $38 million in financial losses as a result of tax scams.
The real IRS will not:
- The IRS will not call you about your tax bill without first sending you a bill in the mail.
- Demand that you pay taxes and not allow you to question or appeal the amount that you owe.
- Require that you pay your taxes a certain way. For instance, require that you pay with a prepaid debit card or any specific type of tender.
- Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
- Threaten to bring in police or other agencies to arrest you for not paying.
- Threaten you with a lawsuit.
If you don’t owe taxes or have no reason to think that you do:
- Do not provide any information to the caller. Hang up immediately.
- Contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. Use TIGTA’s “IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting” web page to report the incident.
- You should also 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 taxes call the IRS at 800-829-1040. IRS employees can help you if you do owe taxes.
IRS Tax Tips provide valuable information throughout the year. IRS.gov offers tax help and info on various topics including common tax scams, taxpayer rights and more.
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