Is the IRS Calling? It Could be a Scam

IRS warns of a new twist on an old phone scam.

WASHINGTON – The Internal Revenue Service Tuesday warned of a new twist on an old phone scam as criminals use telephone numbers that mimic IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TACs) to trick taxpayers into paying non-existent tax bills.

The IRS and its Security Summit partners – the state tax agencies and the tax industry – urge taxpayers to remain alert to tax scams year-round, especially immediately after the tax filing season ends. Even after the April deadline passes, the tax scam season doesn’t end.

In the latest version of the phone scam, criminals claim to be calling from a local IRS TAC office. Scam artists have programmed their computers to display the TAC telephone number, which then appears on your Caller ID.

Questions? Call the tax experts at Carpenter, Evert and Associates at (952) 831-0085 or send us a note.

If you question their demand for tax payment, they direct you to IRS.gov to look up your local TAC office information. The crooks hang up, wait a bit and then call back a second time, and they are able to fake or “spoof” the Caller ID to appear to be the IRS office you just looked up! Thinking it’s the real thing, you are more apt to give in to their demands for payment.

Fraudsters also have been similarly spoofing local sheriff’s offices, state Department of Motor Vehicles, federal agencies and others to convince taxpayers the call is legitimate.

IRS employees at TAC offices do not make calls to taxpayers to demand payment of overdue tax bills. It typically initiates contact through regular mail delivered by the United States Postal Service.

Note that the IRS does not:
  • Demand that you use a specific payment method, such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. The IRS will not ask for your debit or credit card numbers over the phone.
  • Demand that you pay taxes without the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe. Generally, the IRS will first mail you a bill if you owe any taxes. You should also be advised of your rights as a taxpayer.
  • Threaten to bring in local police, immigration officers or other law enforcement to have you arrested for not paying. The IRS also cannot revoke your driver’s license, business licenses, or immigration status.

Threats like these are common tactics scam artists use to trick victims into buying into their schemes. If you receive any IRS call that you think is a scam, you should report it to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at its IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting.

Questions? Call the tax experts at Carpenter, Evert and Associates at (952) 831-0085 or send us a note.

 

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